Coronavirus fears trap 6,000 passengers on cruise ship in Italy
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    Coronavirus fears trap 6,000 passengers on cruise ship in Italy

    Two Chinese passengers may have been infected with the coronavirus. Credit: Belga

    6,000 people are trapped on a cruise ship in the port of Civitavecchia, close to Rome, in Italy due to a possible Coronavirus outbreak on board.

    Around 6,000 passengers are being held in quarantine on board of the Costa Smeralda cruise ship, according to a spokesperson for the Costa Crociere cruise company, reports De Morgen.

    Two Chinese passengers may have been infected with the Coronavirus. The couple boarded the ship in the Savona port in Italy on 25 January. Shortly after, they both developed a fever and respiratory problems, they said.

    “A 54-year-old female Chinese national from Macau was placed in isolation in Costa Smeralda’s shipboard hospital last night along with her travelling companion, in accordance with health protocols,” a statement from the cruise company said, reports BusinessInsider. “As soon as the suspected case was detected, the medical team on board immediately activated all the relevant health procedures to promptly isolate and manage clinical conditions.”

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    “There is no panic, rather resignation,” said Mike Louagie, a Flemish passenger on board of the ship, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

    “There are about eight hundred Chinese people on board to celebrate the Chinese New Year,” Louagie said. “Normally, we would be allowed off the ship around 7:00-8:00 AM, but this morning it was announced that there would be a sanitary inspection,” he added.

    No one is to leave the ship while medical checks are being carried out, which can take “a few hours,” according to the spokesperson.

    “The first tests seem to give negative results, but we are waiting for the final results of the test,” according to the Italian Ministry of Health, reports De Morgen. It is not clear when those results will be available, but it could take up to 48 hours.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times