Coronavirus Scare Traps 7,000 Passengers Aboard a Carnival Cruise Ship

The Coronavirus started in Wuhan, China, but it quickly spread to the United States with the first case reported in Washington state. The man who contracted the virus had been visiting Wuhan and returned home on an international flight.

People traveling to and from places where there have been confirmed cases of the virus is a big concern. Airports in the U.S. are screening passengers for the virus, and perhaps cruise ships should start doing the same thing.

The Costa Smeralda cruise ship, which is owned by Carnival Corp., was docked at the port of Civitavecchia, which is near Rome, Italy, when a 54-year-old woman from Macau started showing symptoms that matched Coronavirus symptoms – respiratory symptoms and a fever. Obviously these are common symptoms of other viruses as well, but out of extreme caution, the ship has the woman in isolation to contain the illness. The other passengers and staff are onboard as well.

The woman has been tested for coronavirus, and so far it looks like she does not have this illness. Still, out of caution, the mayor of Civitavecchia’s, Ernesto Tedesco, has called for a lockdown of the ship for another 24 hours.

There are 6000 passengers on the cruise ship, and 750 of them are from China. There are also 1000 staff members onboard. Passengers can be seen walking around the ship’s deck. They do not have internet access, and they seem to be getting restless. 

Patrick Scholes, an analyst with SunTrust, thinks the lockdown and coronavirus scare could negatively affect the cruise industry. He stated in an email, “Even if it is a false alarm, the surrounding media attention is a negative for the propensity to book a cruise.”