Costa Smeralda ship

A cruise ship carrying thousands of people has been put in quarantine  at the port of Civitavecchia, near Rome, over suspicion that a coronavirus patient is on board.

The ship, Costa Smeralda, run by Costa Crociere has about 7,000 people on board, including crew and passengers, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

“There is one suspect case, a woman from Macau. Public health authorities are verifying the situation,” a spokesman from Costa Crociere is quoted by dpa news.

“We arrived in [Civitavecchia] with the Costa Smeralda cruise ship and they are not letting us off the boat. They say it’s due to a health inspection,” a passenger named Gaby reportedly tweeted.

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She added that the cruise ship was “full of Asians” with face masks.

The Costa Smeralda was reported to have departed from Savona in northern Italy and stopped in Marseille, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca before reaching Civitavecchia.

According to ANSA, test results for the suspected patient should be ready later in the day. The woman, 54, has been put in isolation with her husband, who does not appear to have any symptoms.

“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,” coast guard commander Vincenzo Leone was quoted as saying by ANSA.

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In a statement, Costa Crociere said its priority is “to guarantee the health and safety of guests and crew” and that it would “strictly comply” with regulations from health authorities, the news agency reported.