The Carnival Magic cruise ship where a health worker was kept in isolation amid Ebola fears
The Carnival Magic cruise ship, where a health worker was kept in isolation amid Ebola fears (Wikipedia)

Thousands of passengers were trapped aboard the Carnival Magic cruise ship, after fears that a guest on board may have handled specimens from Thomas Eric Duncan, who died after contracting the Ebola virus.

The US Centers for Disease Control contacted the cruise operator on Wednesday to informer it that a passenger on the ship worked as a lab supervisor at the hospital where Duncan was treated.

The unnamed woman, who was travelling with her husband, has agreed to remain in isolation in a cabin, according to a US State Department.

The cruise line and the US government are working on bring back the employee to north America.

Her husband does not appear to be in the isolation room with his wife, according to a Business Insider report.

The female health worker has shown no signs of illness and does not have a fever. She did not come into direct contact with Duncan but may have processed some of the deceased's fluid samples, said the state department.

"At no point in time has the individual exhibited any symptoms or signs of infection, and it has been 19 days since she was in the lab with the testing samples," Carnival said in a statement.

Although the health worker seems to be a very low risk for Ebola, the Belize government are taking no chances and are not allowing the ship to dock. The government has also denied a request from the US government to evacuate the passenger through a Belize airport.

The Belize government decided "not to facilitate a US request for assistance in evacuating the passenger through the Phillip Goldson International Airport" out of an "abundance of caution", authorities said in a statement.

The cruise ship's captain explained to passengers that the ship was skipping its planned stop in Cozumel and returning to its home port of Galveston, Texas. It is expected to arrive in Galveston on Sunday morning, as originally scheduled.

"[He] never said the word Ebola, but everyone knew," said 7NEWS reporter Eric Lupher, who is on the cruise ship. "On the elevators, people were talking about it."

Everyone on board was remaining calm, Lupher told The Daily Beast. "[People] are trusting the fact that the CDC has cleared them. Everyone is in the pool… and at the computers to find out the latest information… Everyone, including me, is not afraid we'll get sick and die."