Cruise ship on lockdown after suspected coronavirus case

The Costa Smeralda cruise ship, carrying 6,000 people, is stuck at a port near Rome. Credit: Reuters

An estimated 6,000 people are being held on board a cruise ship docked at the port of Civitavecchia, Italy, after a Chinese passenger showed symptoms of coronavirus.

Passengers aboard the Costa Smeralda, owned by Carnival Corps according to IHS Markit data, have been refused permission to disembark while a 54-year old passenger and her husband are being held in isolation while it is determined if they have the virus.

The woman, who is receiving treatment on board by medical experts from Rome’s Spallanzani hospital, reportedly flew in from Hong Kong to join the cruise. It is thought she contracted a fever while aboard the vessel during the cruise.

Initial tests that have been analysed by hospital staff have ruled out coronavirus infection, officials have reportedly told Italian media. It is unknown when the passengers and crew will be allowed to disembark the vessel.

This is following advice issued to ship companies and crew by the International Maritime Health Association and an alert published by P&I clubs this week regarding how to deal with cases of coronavirus on board vessels.