No Maltese on board Costa cruise ship held in Italy over two suspected coronavirus cases

The Costa Smeralda, a cruise ship, is held up at the Italian port of Civitavecchia after two passengers show symptoms of the new Chinese influenza

Thousands of holidaymakers were left stranded on the cruise ship and at the port, waiting for clearance from the Italian health authorities
Thousands of holidaymakers were left stranded on the cruise ship and at the port, waiting for clearance from the Italian health authorities

Thousands of passengers on board a cruise ship were prevented from disembarking at the Italian port of Civitavecchia after two Chinese nationals showed symptoms of the coronavirus.

The Costa Smeralda, belonging to cruise shipping company Costa Crociere, was blocked inside the port while doctors rushed to test the two passengers who had high fever.

The two passengers were quarantined on the ship. Italian media reported that the couple flew in to Milan from Hong Kong on 25 January, before getting on board at Savona in northern Italy.

At around 2:30pm, the port authorities gave the ship clearance to disembark passengers and take on new ones but the operation was stopped after the local mayor objected.

A spokesperson for Orange Travel, the Maltese company that acts as agent for Costa Cruises in Malta, told MaltaToday that Malta was not a port of call for the Costa Smeralda.

“To our knowledge, there are no Maltese nationals on board the vessel,” the spokesman said.

The situation has left thousands of stranded holidaymakers on board the ship and at the port, pending clearance from Italian health authorities.

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