Coronavirus: Thousands of passengers on lockdown onboard cruise ship

Holidaymakers are trapped onboard

The Costa Smeralda ship is in lockdown in Italy over coronavirus fears
The Costa Smeralda ship is in lockdown in Italy over coronavirus fears

Around 6,000 passengers are stranded on a cruise ship in Italy amid fears that a passenger onboard may have contracted coronavirus.

Tests are being carried out on a 54-year-old woman from Macau, and her and her husband have been placed in an isolation unit onboard the Costa Smeralda ship.

The liner, which belongs to Costa Cruises, is currently docked in Civitavecchia, a port north of Rome.

Thousands of holidaymakers are being kept onboard the ship while tests to determine whether the woman has coronavirus are carried out.

She arrived in Italy five days ago and boarded the Costa Smeralda at the port of Savona, northern Italy. She subsequently came down with a fever and flu-like symptoms.

The ship has been sailing a seven-day voyage around the western Mediterranean, and has stopped at Marseilles, Barcelona and Palma in Mallorca.

In a statement to The Independent, Costa Cruises said that as soon as the suspected case was detected, the onboard medical team immediately isolated the passenger.

Costa said it would adhere to guidance from the local health authority, as well as the that of the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is our utmost priority to ensure the health and safety of passengers and crew,” it added.

The deadly virus, which originated in Wuhan, central China, has so far killed 170 people.

It comes as airlines around the world suspend services to mainland China amid fears of the virus developing.

British Airways has suspended daily services to Shanghai and Beijing as the respiratory illness sweeps across the country.

Major airlines including SAS and Lufthansa have followed. Airlines including KLM, United, Delta and Korean Air have all slashed services to mainland China.

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