Approximately 6,000 people were held on board a cruise ship in Italy on Thursday amid concerns that two passengers might have the new coronavirus, although tests ultimately found no sign of the infection.
Passengers were held for several hours on board the Costa Smeralda cruise ship in Civitavecchia, Italy, while health officials investigated. No one was allowed to leave the ship during the investigation.
Two Chinese passengers were tested for the virus, a spokesperson for the Costa Crociere cruise company said on Thursday. The Chinese couple boarded the ship on Jan. 25 in Savona, Italy, the company says. They later reported symptoms of fever and difficulty breathing.
A 54-year-old woman from Macau was exhibiting the symptoms, BBC News reports. She was placed in isolation, and officials also checked her husband, who was not exhibiting any symptoms.
Both individuals had no traces of the coronavirus in their systems, Reuters reported on Thursday night.
The cruise ship had been making the rounds in Europe with stops in Marseilles, France, and Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. It arrived in Civitavecchia, Italy, on Thursday.
The delay left thousands of passengers restless and scared on the cruise ship.
Passenger Marina Guerrero demanded information from the cruise line in a tweet on Thursday. “We are people!” she wrote in Spanish.
She added a video showing people milling around anxiously on the deck of the ship.
Costa Crociere is an Italian subsidiary of Carnival Cruises, one of the largest cruise lines in the world.
The Costa Smeralda is Costa Crociere’s flagship. The vessel was built last year and has a capacity of 6,600 passengers in addition to more than 1,000 crewmembers.
The cruise ship scare comes amid rising fears of an outbreak at sea. Royal Caribbean Cruises announced on Wednesday that it would cancel three trips in China.
The coronavirus outbreak has sparked global fears after it emerged in China late last year. The disease has killed at least 170 people in China, and a handful of cases have been reported in other parts of the world, including Canada, the United States and Australia.
—With files from Reuters