Thousands of people, including 27 Australians, had been held in lockdown on a cruise ship in Italy as global fears continued to grow over the rapidly spreading Wuhan coronavirus.
However, the suspected coronavirus case has now been diagnosed as the flu.
"The situation on the ship, which is docked in Civitavecchia, has been under constant control and the crew have provided the best possible assistance," a Costa Cruises spokesman said.
"Last night our medical team promptly identified a suspected fever case in a 54-year-old woman, just a few hours before the ship's arrival in Civitavecchia.
"As soon as the case was discovered, the required precautionary procedures were immediately taken. When the ship arrived in the port of Civitavecchia, authorities carried out all the checks required. The ship will remain docked at Civitavecchia until tomorrow, before leaving resuming its regular cruise program.
"Costa Cruises offers guests who should have disembarked today in Civitavecchia the opportunity to stay overnight on board, organising their return home from tomorrow morning," he said.
"Costa has already ensured that all guests supposed to embark today in Civitavecchia will spend the night in the hotels close to the port."
The passengers and staff were confined to a cruise ship in a port near Rome as a couple was being tested for the virus.
Six thousand people on board were passengers and around another thousand were crew members.
The number of cases of the virus, which has killed at least 170 people, shot up to more than 8100 in mainland China alone by Thursday evening.
Several countries are repatriating their citizens from China and multiple air carriers have suspended flights to the country.
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.
"An order has been signed today, it is in the works. Today we will inform everyone accordingly about the relevant measures to close the border in the Far Eastern region and other measures that have been taken by the government," Mishustin said, RIA reports.
Russia's Far Eastern Federal District shares a land border with China, Mongolia and North Korea.
Thursday's announcement comes after several Russian tour operators and charter flight companies suspended flights to China.
Russia will also limit its railway service with China from Friday, TASS reported.In the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong, where only 10 cases have been confirmed, the government has closed a high-speed rail station that would usually connect the city to China's mainland.
Hong Kong has introduced new limits it says will cut the amount of mainland Chinese travelers coming to the city by 80 per cent.
How Australia is affected
Nine people have contracted the virus after travelling to Australia from Hubei province in central China.
The tally is four in NSW, three in Victoria and two in Queensland. Two of the NSW victims are no longer infectious and were discharged from hospital on Thursday. The others are all stable.
The latest case is a 42-year-old Chinese woman who travelled from Wuhan to the Gold Coast via Melbourne. She is now in isolation in a Gold Coast hospital.
The federal government plans to evacuate Australians from the Hubei capital of Wuhan after about 600 citizens and residents registered for help to get out. China must approve the plan. They will be flown to Christmas Island and put in quarantine for two weeks.
Anyone who has recently been to Hubei or had contact with a confirmed case must isolate themselves at home for 14 days from the date of their departure.
- With CNN / AAP
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/coronavirus-update-7000-held-on-cruise-ship-as-global-fears-spread/bbfa695a-8e62-41a7-84ef-8a8f5fb56594