Coronavirus: More than 6,000 people are stranded on cruise ship after Chinese couple fall ill

Coronavirus: More than 6,000 people are stranded on cruise ship after Chinese couple fall ill

Per the Mirror, up to 7,000 passengers and crew have been left stranded on a cruise ship in Italy following fears that a husband and wife from China could be carrying the coronavirus.

The Costa Smeralda cruise ship is currently docked at a port in Civitavecchia, north-west of Rome, with roughly 6,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members on-board. The couple has been placed in isolation in a hospital ward aboard the ship after experiencing flu-like symptoms, including a fever and difficulty breathing.

This Chinese medical worker was filmed breaking down following the stress of working with stricken patients:

Doctors have since carried out tests on the holidaymakers to determine whether or not they have the SARS-like virus, which, as of this writing, has killed at least 170 people in China and infected more than 7,700 others.

If they are carrying the killer bug, there are fears it could have already spread to hundreds of other passengers onboard the vessel

Per the Daily Star, the town's mayor Ernesto Tedesco told reporters: "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 Municipality."

The Costa Smeralda is operated by liner company Costa Crociere.

BBC Rome correspondent Mark Lowen tweeted within the hour: "6,000 passengers are currently blocked on a cruise ship near port of Civitavecchia, near Rome, while a Chinese couple on board - reportedly with fever and respiratory problems - are checked for #coronavirus. The Costa Smeralda arrived from Marseille, Barcelona and Mallorca"

He added in a follow-up tweet: "UPDATE: The suspected case of #Coronavirus is with the woman, a 54-year-old from Macau, while her husband did not show symptoms. She's been isolated on board and is being checked by medical staff. Results expected this afternoon"

Per the Guardian, the Costa Smeralda has visited Marseilles in France, and the Spanish ports of Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca this week before docking on Thursday at Civitavecchia.

The couple reportedly arrived at Milan's Malpensa Airport on Saturday and traveled approximately 100 miles to the port city of Savona, where they boarded the liner that same day.

More on this story as it develops...