Six thousand people aboard a cruise ship found themselves stranded off the coast of Italy after authorities quarantined their vessel over fears of the deadly coronavirus!
Italian health officials enforced the lockdown as medical workers boarded the Costa Smeralda to investigate a potential case of coronavirus 2019-nCoV onboard.
There was subdued panic aboard the ship when word spread that Italian authorities had isolated a 54-year old woman from Macao suffering flu-like symptoms. Health authorities put the woman’s husband under isolation for testing, as well.
The Costa Smeralda had docked in the port of Civitavecchia, north of Rome, on Thursday. Mayor Ernesto Tedesco of Rome said authorities would not allow any passengers to get on or off the ship until it was cleared of the virus.
Everyone had kept on board while local officials awaited the results of the tests. Italy’s health ministry later announced that the two passengers were not infected with the coronavirus.
The situation unfolded as cruise lines have canceled stops in China and airlines have cut flights there. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus a global health emergency.
The death toll from the outbreak has risen to 170 in China, where reports indicate that some 8,100 people have been infected with the disease.
The woman whose illness had prompted the quarantine had reportedly flown from Hong Kong to join the cruise. She broke out in a fever while on board.