More than 6,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members were stuck on a cruise ship docked along the Italian coast on Thursday, after the liner was placed on lockdown over two suspected cases of the deadly coronavirus, according to The Guardian.
Samples from a Chinese couple were sent for testing after medical staff boarded the Carnival ship in the port of Civitavecchia, northwest of Rome, The Local reports.
The 54-year-old woman, who was running a fever, was actually suffering from a strain of the flu. tests showed.
Her husband also did not have the coronavirus.
The Costa Smeralda, the fifth-largest cruise ship in the world, arrived from Palma de Mallorca on Thursday during a one-week trip through the western Mediterranean.
Alarmed passengers posted photos to social media, as they awaited news on the couple:
On Thursday afternoon, the World Health Organization declared the epidemic an international public health emergency, acknowledging that the virus represents a risk outside of China, The New York Times reports.
Russian state media reported Thursday that Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin had signed an order to close Russia’s border with China in the Far East in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
The number of cases of the virus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan has shot up by 30% in just a day to more than 7,700 on the country’s mainland. Elsewhere, more than 100 people have been infected in 20 countries or territories across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, according to the Associated Press.