Suspected Coronavirus case on cruise ship ruled a false alarm

By: Dhipa Palani
Reading Time: 2 minutes



A ship in Italy with more than 6,000 tourists and 1,000 crew members was quarantined on January 30 over a suspected case of the deadly Coronavirus.

The ship, the Costa Smeralda, has been allowed to leave the port city of Civitavecchia, situated near Rome, after the woman suspected of having the virus was cleared by the local medical team.

The suspected case 

The 54-year-old Chinese woman from Macau developed flu-like symptoms on board the ship. She was then placed in isolation as an onboard medical team tested her for the deadly virus. 

The Italian Health Ministry confirmed that the woman and her husband, who was traveling with her, did not in fact have the Coronavirus. 

The ship sailed from Savona in northern Italy and docked in Marseille, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca before reaching Civitavecchia.

751 passengers on board the ship are believed to be Chinese with 374 embarking in Savona, where the woman who was suspected of contracting the virus had also embarked.

“We did all that we needed to do. The situation is under control and at the moment it does not seem like there are any reasons for concern on board,” said Vincenzo Leone, the coastguard commander.

The Costa Smeralda, the fifth-largest cruise ship in the world, is embarking on a one-week cruise across the Mediterranean.

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The two cruise companies are still operating in China under guidance from the Chinese government although they have canceled many trips as a result of the virus. 

The Chinese market accounts for about five percent of global cruise capacity and had contributed about nine percent of Royal Caribbean’s total revenue in 2019. 

Coronavirus in Italy

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte confirmed that Italy had now seen its first two cases of the virus, both involving Chinese tourists.

Air traffic between Italy and China has been canceled until further notice. 

Conte says that the country is prepared to handle the deadly virus’ outbreak. 

“We are extremely cautious and careful. We are not unprepared,” Conte said at a press conference with Health Minister Roberto Speranza and Giuseppe Ippolito, director of the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases.