The Costa Smeralda cruise ship (rear) is seen docked in the Civitavecchia port near Rome, Jan 30, 2020. (ANDREW MEDICHINI / AP)
CIVITAVECCHIA/WARREN - A test carried out on Thursday on a passenger from Macao aboard a cruise ship in Italy proved she did not have the new coronavirus, an Italian health ministry spokesman said.
The Costa Crociere company’s ship Costa Smeralda docked in Civitavecchia, north of Rome, with about 6,000 people aboard. The mayor of the town had asked authorities to prevent passengers from disembarking until it had been confirmed the virus was not present.
On Thursday, Italy confirmed the country’s first two cases of the novel coronavirus, while Germany identified the country’s fifth case in an employee working at the same firm as the other four infected individuals in the southern state of Bavaria
The 54-year-old woman, who boarded the ship on Jan 25 in the port of Savona, had come down with a fever and flu-like symptoms. Both she and her partner were placed in an isolation unit on the ship, Costa Crociere said in a statement.
The Costa Smeralda had visited Marseilles in France and the Spanish ports of Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca this week before docking on Thursday at Civitavecchia.
Samples were taken to Rome’s Spallanzani institute, a center specializing in infectious diseases and viruses that confirmed there was no infection, the health ministry added.
The World Health Organization has declared that the coronavirus epidemic in China now constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
Passengers on board the Italian cruise ship reacted in different ways to the potential virus danger.
“There is no tension, they (my relatives) have eaten, everything works, they should have been able to leave the ship but they cannot,” Adriano Pavan, the father of a passenger on board with two children, told Reuters.
Carla Configoni, the mother of a pregnant woman on board, said she had spoken to her daughter who was “very agitated”.
“She was fine until late morning because she didn’t know what was going on. Then, they heard the news,” she said.
Trump said the United States was working very closely with China on the coronavirus outbreak and he believed it was under control
On Thursday, Italy confirmed the country’s first two cases of the novel coronavirus, while Germany identified the country’s fifth case in an employee working at the same firm as the other four infected individuals in the southern state of Bavaria.
“This concerns an employee at the company in Starnberg at which the other four known cases work,” said Bavaria’s health ministry in a statement.
On Friday, England’s chief medical officer said two patients from the same family in England have tested positive for coronavirus.
“The patients are receiving specialist National Health Service care, and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus,” England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday said the United States was working very closely with China on the coronavirus outbreak and he believed it was under control.
“We’re working very closely with (China) and with a lot of other people and a lot of other countries” on combating the outbreak, Trump said in a speech at an auto parts manufacturer in the city of Warren, Michigan.
“We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment,” he said.
HONG KONG NEWS