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 Mediterannean.
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.”
READ MORE: Coronavirus: Britons returning from Wuhan face two-week quarantine