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One thing about boats and illnesses, they go together to create a potentially deadly combination.

When I was in the military, there was a smallpox vaccine that was administered to everyone onboard the ship. For around the next thirty days, you could hardly touch anything that anyone else would possibly touch for fear of getting smallpox.

At least when you are on land you don’t have to be stuck in such close quarters with so many sick people.

More than 6,000 people have been prevented from disembarking from a cruise ship in the Italian port city of Civitavecchia after the liner was placed on lockdown over two suspected cases of the deadly coronavirus.

Samples from a couple onboard were sent for testing after three doctors and a nurse boarded the Costa Crociere ship Costa Smeralda to tend to a woman with a fever.

The 54-year-old woman from Macau was put into isolation overnight in a hospital ward on the ship. Her husband, who did not have any symptoms, has also been tested by doctors from Rome’s Spallanzani hospital and quarantined.

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“As soon as the suspected case emerged, medical staff onboard immediately activated the necessary health procedures for cases of this kind,” Costa Crociere said in a statement. “Our priority is to guarantee the health and safety of our guests and team.”

The couple flew into Milan from Hong Kong on Saturday before getting on the cruise, according to Italian media reports.

The vessel had come from Palma, Mallorca, and stopped at Civitavecchia, a city close to Rome, as part of a week-long cruise of the Mediterranean.

“The situation of a suspected case of coronavirus at the port of Civitavecchia is under close control,” said Ernesto Tedesco, the mayor of Civitavecchia.

An unnamed passenger was quoted as telling the Ansa news agency: “The couple’s cabin has been isolated and they are in with the doctors. We’re a bit worried of course. No one is getting on or off the ship apart from the doctors. This holiday risks ending in a nightmare.”

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