Coronavirus: Brits among those quarantined on cruise ship near Japan after ten test positive

5 February 2020, 23:32

David Abel is among those quarantined onboard the Diamond Princess
David Abel is among those quarantined onboard the Diamond Princess. Picture: PA/ David Abel

A British passenger who has been quarantined onboard a cruise ship amid a coronavirus outbreak has told how all passengers have been confined to their cabins.

David Abel branded the Diamond Princess a “floating prison” after passengers were told they must stay inside, including those with balconies.

He had previously been concerned that the lack of food being provided “could put him in a state of coma” as he is diabetic, but said this had now been rectified.

In China, the death toll continues to rise, with authorities in the country stating 490 people have died, and the number of infected has risen to 24,324.

An infected passenger is lead from the ship in Japan
An infected passenger is lead from the ship in Japan. Picture: PA

Mr Abel, who is onboard with his wife Sally, said passengers will be confined to their cabins for a fortnight.

The ship, carrying nearly 3,000 passengers, has been left in limbo in Yokohama Bay, awaiting test results after an 80-year-old passenger who left the ship in Hong Kong on January 25 tested positive for coronavirus.

Officials boarded the ship on Monday night and told passengers they would be running medical checks on everyone, with the diagnosis of the virus announced to the ship on Wednesday morning.

In a video on Facebook, Mr Abel said: “It’s been a very interesting first full day of quarantine at sea.

17:20 Wednesday 5/2/2020 final update for today

Posted by David Abel on Wednesday, 5 February 2020

“We are still not allowed outside of the cabin, we are confined here full time.

“We’ve had one hot drink given to us since this morning, we’ve got bottled water, but we’ve only had one hot drink.

“The meals have completely changed – we’re definitely no longer on a luxury cruise.

“Where we had the superb benefit of eating in a dining room and having choice from the menu, those days are over.

First meal in 18 hours. Being diabetic and dairy intolerant there is nothing here I can eat. They have since brought me...

Posted by David Abel on Tuesday, 4 February 2020

“We now get a toasted sandwich for breakfast and lunch, rolls, a little dessert, a couple of glasses of orange juice – totally different.

“I’m not trying to sound ungrateful, I’m so grateful that the ship are taking care of us, it’s just such a contrast to the first two weeks.”

The final UK government rescue plane will be sent to Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, on Sunday.

UK officials have encouraged any of the estimated 185 British nationals in Hubei province to contact them to register if they wish to be evacuated.

7pm Yokohama: Some passengers are moving about the quarantined ship, note usually the busiest area (the atrium) was quite empty. Quarantine officers in first photo.

Posted by David Abel on Tuesday, 4 February 2020

A total of 94 UK nationals and family members have already been evacuated to Britain from Wuhan on two flights which arrived last week.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday there were "no plans to evacuate all remaining UK nationals in China".

He added: "We haven't seen the peak of the coronavirus by a long stretch and we expect more cases in the UK.

"We have a full plan in place to treat all those who have symptoms and test positively for coronavirus and we are working with international partners both to slow the spread and also to do the research that we need to do to find a vaccine."

Health officials are trying to trace 239 people who flew from Wuhan to the UK before travel restrictions came into force.