Around 7000 people on board an Italian cruise ship have been allowed to disembark after health officials said a Chinese passenger who reflected symptoms of coronavirus had tested negative.
The 54-year-old, along with her husband, kept in isolation on the ship, but tests showed that she was not infected.
Earlier, some 6,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members were held on the cruise ship over concerns that the ill passenger could be infected with the coronavirus.
“Sanitary protocol” had been triggered on the ship operated by Costa Cruises. The Costa Smeralda cruise ship docked in the north of Rome at the Civitavecchia port on Thursday morning, where it had sailed from Palma in the Mallorca.
The passenger who suspected of being infected came from Hong Kong to join the cruise and broke out in a fever while on board.
Samples referred to Spallanzani hospital – a Romanian hospital specializes in infectious diseases – and returned negative, the health minister of Italy said.
“While we appreciate the cause for inconvenience, the procedures were taken, and our cooperation with the Health Authorities remained effective in dealing with the situation and were intended to guarantee maximum safety for all our passengers, crew and the community as a whole,” Costa Cruises stated in its statement, confirming the passenger had the common flu.
The Associated Press provided that health officials screened all the members aboard the ship, and all were asked not to leave until the final reports of the medical tests come.
In a separate development, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had confirmed the first two cases of the coronavirus in the country, involving two tourists from China. All flights between Italy and China were suspended after the infection-confirmation.
Meanwhile, the WHO (World Health Organization) declared the virus a global health emergency, with death toll climbed to over 170 in China.
The Costa Smeralda had been a seven-day route with various stops projected in ports across the West Mediterranean. The officials told that ship will remain in Civitavecchia until Friday before leaving for Savona and starting its program again.
The cruise ship incident happens at a time when already 9,000 cases of coronavirus reported in China, with at least 200 deaths. The majority of those cases are in mainland China.
More than 100 cases so far have been reported outside of China in countries such as Thailand, Japan, France, India, and the United States.