As deadly novel Coronavirus (2019-nCOV) is spreading across the world, more than 6,000 passengers were trapped on an Italian cruise ship after a woman fell ill with a suspected of the virus, according to report on Friday.
The Costa Smeralda vessel is currently being held near Civitavecchia, 35 miles of Rome, after a Chinese woman, 54, began displaying symptoms of the virus which has killed 213 people and infected 9,692 in China as of Friday morning, the Metro newspaper said in a report.
Woman’s initial tests for the coronavirus came negative, but officials said that they must wait longer for more accurate results.
The woman and her husband – who is not believed to have symptoms – were immediately placed in solitary confinement and have been tested for the coronavirus, Metro quoted the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera as saying.
According to sources, there are as many as 7,000 people stuck on the ship.
The Costa Smeralda, which took its first journey last December, is currently on the last day of a cruise that began at Civitavecchia on January 23. It has made stops at La Spezia, Savona, Marseilles, Barcelona, and Mallorca, the Metro daily said in its report.
The ship was reportedly in the process of docking back at Civitavecchia when it was stopped.
Four Chinese provinces, including Shandong and Heilongjiang in the industrial rust-belt region, have asked companies not to start work before February 10.
New cases are being reported every day around the world, spurring cuts to travel, outbreaks of anti-China sentiment in some places and a surge in demand for protective face masks.
The Coronavirus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
The Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes, but the virus in China is a novel strain and not seen before.