'I worry about our mental and physical health.' Quarantined Britons on the Diamond Princess cruise ship face another 14 days in isolation in the UK. Read more:
David and Sally Abel have been posting regular updates from the Diamond Princess, which is docked off the coast of Japan.
Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he understood Mr and Mrs Abel had been quarantined by Japanese authoritiesHe told Sky News' Kay Burley @ Breakfast show:"This is a really, really serious outbreak - a serious case which people, through no fault of their own, have been exposed to this potentially lethal virus.
"What we're trying to do as a government is try and get people back to Britain, fly them back so that they can be with their families."On Mr and Mrs Abel, Mr Kwarteng added:"It will be terrifying and very frightening but I think where they are is [with] the Japanese authorities. My understanding [is they] have essentially quarantined them and are looking after them."
The Foreign Office says it is"working to organise a flight" back to the UK for British nationals on the coronavirus-hit cruise ship - and those trapped are being"strongly encouraged" to take it.Those in quarantine on the Diamond Princess are being contacted to make the necessary arrangements, with a spokesperson adding:"We urge all those who have not yet responded to get in touch immediately."
More than 70 British nationals have faced an anxious wait to find out whether they will be evacuated from the cruise liner.Image:American cruise ship passengers have been evacuatedThe Foreign Office had come under increasing pressure to bring them home after the
US chartered two planesto repatriate 340 of its citizens - 14 of whom had been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.Those who had tested positive were moved to the back of the plane in a"specialised containment area" to be isolated - even though they did not display any symptoms.
Approximately half of all known cases of COVID-19 outside China have been found aboard the Diamond Princess.A total of 542 people have tested positive since the cruise liner was ordered to stay under quarantine on 3 February.At least four Britons are among the confirmed cases.
Image:A number of contingency plans have been put in place for a potential outbreak in the UKThe Japanese government has repeatedly defended the effectiveness of the quarantine but some scientists suggest that it may have been less than rigorous.In a possible sign of lax quarantine protocols, three Japanese health officials who helped in the quarantine checks on the ship were also infected.
"I suspect people were not as isolated from other people as we would have thought," said Dr. Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia.In a letter to those still stranded, the FCO said:"We strongly encourage British nationals on board Diamond Princess, or those passengers now in separate quarantine accommodation ashore, to take this opportunity to return to the UK on this flight.
"If you disembark from the ship before this British government organised evacuation, there is a risk that you may find it difficult to return by other commercial means."Affected Britons are being told that they will not be charged for the flight - however, they will need to sign an agreement to complete 14 days of"supported isolation" in the UK.
Read more: Sky News
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Awww bless. I’m crying for you. Were they expecting to run about infecting us at home? People getting their preparation in for a nice compensation case... Oh dear.......really You may have a virus that could infect others How about thinking about that I'm sure you must understand that if your going to cruise into foreign waters knowing what it's like, don't be upset if you don't get your own way, after your jollies and holidays, just stay put and ride out the storm, you are at sea, your choice!
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