Ship held in quarantine over suspected case of the deadly virus, after doctors tend to woman from Macau running a fever.

More than 6,000 tourists have been put on lockdown on a cruise ship in Italy on Thursday after a suspected case of coronavirus was detected on board the vast liner.

Samples taken from a Chinese couple were sent for testing after three doctors and a nurse boarded the Costa Crociere ship in the port of Civitavecchia, near Rome, to tend to a woman running a fever, local health authorities said.

Costa Crociere has confirmed that its ship, the Costa Smeralda, carrying some 7,000 people including crew, was in lockdown.

“There is one suspect case, a woman from Macau. Public health authorities are verifying the situation,” a spokesman from the cruise line told DPA news agency.

“We arrived in [Civitavecchia] with the Costa Smeralda cruise ship and they are not letting us off the boat. They say it’s due to a health inspection,” a passenger named Gaby tweeted.

The Costa Smeralda departed from Savona in northern Italy and stopped in Marseille, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca before reaching Civitavecchia.

According to ANSA news agency, test results for the suspected patient should be ready in the afternoon. The woman, 54, has been put in isolation with her husband, who does not appear to have any symptoms.

“We did all that we needed to do. The situation is under control and at the moment it does not seem like there are any reasons for concern on board,” coastguard commander Vincenzo Leone was quoted as saying by ANSA.

In a statement, Costa Crociere said its priority is “to guarantee the health and safety of guests and crew” and that it would “strictly comply” with regulations from health authorities.