After a Chinese woman on a cruise ship in Italy complained of fever and breathing problems, thousands of passengers were not allowed ashore for hours because of suspected coronavirus. Now the authorities have given the all-clear.
Thousands of people were stranded for almost a day: On a cruise ship in Italy, the suspicion of diseases with the new coronavirus was not confirmed. Two passengers had been examined for the virus, and both tests were negative, the Italian Ministry of Health announced. According to the ministry, the people may now disembark.
More than 6600 people had been detained on board the “Costa Smeralda” in the port of the Italian city of Civitavecchia since Thursday morning on suspicion. A tourist from the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Macao had complained of fever and breathing problems on board. This may be indicative of the coronavirus, which is currently spreading worldwide and has so far been linked to more than 170 deaths. The Chinese woman’s husband had also been examined.
Cruise line: “Normal flu
According to media reports, the couple from China started the cruise in Savona in Liguria. The ship, on its regular tour of the western Mediterranean, stopped off in Marseille, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca before arriving in Civitavecchia. From there, ship passengers usually explore the capital of Rome. Italy is a very popular travel destination for Chinese people.
The cruise line Costa Crociere reported that it was a “normal flu”. The ship will continue its journey on Friday evening in the direction of Savona in Liguria, skipping the port of La Spezia. Afterwards, the tour will continue as planned.
Anger over missing communication – confusion over permission to disembark
The passengers waited for hours on board, apparently without knowing details. The Ansa news agency reported that many were angry because they did not understand what was going on. “We all eat together in the common rooms, and we don’t know if anyone is infected,” Ansa quoted a traveller from Puglia.
In the meantime, there was also some confusion as to whether the first passengers were allowed to disembark. According to media reports, more than a thousand people who wanted to end their journey in Civitavecchia anyway were given permission by the health authorities in the port. Shortly afterwards, the mayor of the city, Ernesto Tedesco, prohibited these passengers from disembarking again. Tedesco said, “I am a mayor, and I have to protect the citizens of my city.”