March 19, 2020 / 11:08 AM / 18 days ago

Coronavirus-hit Italian cruise ship docks in southern France

MARSEILLE, France, March 19 (Reuters) - An Italian cruise ship that earlier in its voyage disembarked two passengers who later tested positive for the coronavirus has docked in Marseille, southern France, port authorities and passengers said on Thursday.

The 1,400 passengers and the crew of the ship - which left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on March 5 on a cruise destined for Venice, Italy - will remain on board as they wait for the results of coronavirus infection tests on suspected cases.

"The regional health authority will investigate the situation on board. We are waiting for its decision to see whether passengers can disembark," a port authority spokesman said.

An American passenger said that he and some other U.S. citizens had already received airplane tickets for a charter flight that would fly them back to Atlanta late on Thursday.

But he added that passengers had received no word on whether French authorities would let them disembark. (Reporting by Marc Leras in Marseille and Geert De Clercq in Paris; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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