Cruise ship quarantined over coronavirus fears – 6,000 passengers stuck on board #coronavirus #CruiseShip #quarantined #alert #Italy
PASSENGERS on a cruise ship carrying two suspected coronavirus patients have been ordered to stay aboard the vessel after it docked at an Italian port. A number of British holidaymakers are believed to be among those stranded.
The Coast Smeralda was placed on lockdown in the port of Civitavecchia when its captain told the harbourmaster and coast guard chiefs a husband and wife from Hong Kong were being held in isolation in the on-board hospital with flu-like symptoms such as high temperatures and breathing difficulties. Around 6,000 fellow passengers plus 1,000 crew members have been refused permission to leave ship.
Lazio Coast Guard’s maritime director Vincenzo Leone said: “We are waiting to know the outcome of the checks still in progress, but everything that needed to be done has been done.
“The situation is under control and at the moment there is no reason for concern on board.
“We immediately activated the maritime health protocol envisaged in these cases.”
Doctors from the Spallanzani hospital in Rome have boarded the ship to carry out some tests on the couple who joined the cruise at Savona a few days ago after arriving in Italy at Malpensa on January 25.
The towering cruise liner sailed into Civitavecchia, a port city about 50 miles northwest of Rome, after spending the night docked in Palma, Majorca. It has also stopped in Marseille and Barcelona during its voyage around the western Mediterranean.
Police, port authorities and public health officials are all at the dockside awaiting further developments.
Civitavecchia’s mayor Ernesto Tedesco said: “The situation on the suspected case of coronavirus at the port of Civitavecchia is under the careful control of all the bodies involved, including the local authority.
“The health and maritime authorities have immediately taken action and the protocols envisaged are being followed and we will be constantly monitored.”
An Italian passenger named Filippo posted photos of passengers sitting on the floor and in dining or common areas as they waited for updates.
He said: “Meanwhile in Civitavecchia we are stuck in Costa ship without knowing the reason officially.
“People are mostly tired. We are worried because officially on board crew say nothing about. They talk about ‘normal’ controls.
“We don’t know when we’ll disembark the ship.”
Filippo and another passenger, Marina Guerrero, said British citizens are on board the Smeralda.
Ms Guerrero said passengers had been left in the dark.
She said: “We have no information about what is happening. All we know is what has been posted on the internet.
China’s National Health Commission said the total number of deaths from the coronavirus in the country had climbed to 170 and the number of those infected now stood at 7,711.
Almost all the deaths have been in the central province of Hubei, home to about 60 million people and now under virtual lockdown.
The virus emerged last month in a live wild animal market in the provincial capital of Wuhan.
Courtesy of express.co.uk