An Italian cruise ship with 7,000 people on board is being held off the coast after a Chinese woman fell ill with a suspected case of coronavirus.

The Costa Smeralda vessel is currently being held in port at Civitavecchia, 35 miles north of Rome, after a 54-year-old woman from Macau came down with a fever.

She and her husband, who is not thought to have symptoms, were immediately placed in solitary confinement and have been tested for the virus.

The woman, who has not been identified, contacted medics on board on Wednesday night to say she had a temperature and was suffering respiratory problems, Corriere della Sera reports.

Test results are due this afternoon, with other passengers barred from leaving the ship until they come back.

The ship is believed to be carrying around 6,000 passengers, along with another 1,000 crew members.

The Costa Smeralda is a brand-new ship that only launched in December last year, and cruises around the Mediterranean.

It is currently on the last day of a cruise that began at Civitavecchia on January 23 before stopping at La Spezia, Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, and Mallorca.

The ship was in the process of docking back at Civitavecchia when it was stopped.

The couple are thought to have boarded at Savona on January 25, having flown from Hong Kong to Milan’s international airport the same day.

Source: DailyMail