'Honeymooning' Brit on quarantined cruise ship tests positive for coronavirus

7 February 2020, 07:18

Medics have removed some infected passengers from the ship
Medics have removed some infected passengers from the ship. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A British national on board a quarantined cruise ship off the coast of Japan has tested positive for coronavirus as the outbreak worsens.

The infected British man on the Diamond Princess was on his honeymoon and will be separated from his new wife as he is taken off the ship for treatment, a fellow passenger has said.

David Abel said in a video update posted on Facebook that he had been dining with the man, who was not named.

"He will almost certainly be leaving the ship today - real, real shame.

"I have no idea how he must be feeling ... they're on their honeymoon.

"He will be going off in to quarantine in a medical facility and she has to stay on board the ship because she's not displaying symptoms.

"That's going to be really, really tough for him so just bear a thought for these passengers who just don't know what is going to be lying ahead of them."

The cruise ship operator confirmed that 41 people on board had tested positive for the virus, including the one Briton and passengers from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Japan and the US.

In a statement, it said: "The Japanese Ministry of Health has confirmed this is the last batch to be tested and the quarantine end date will be February 19, unless there are any other unforeseen developments. The Japanese government is also providing our ship and team members additional manpower support."

On Friday morning Japanese health authorities confirmed the number of cases on the ship rose by 41 as authorities moved to evacuate fresh cases.

The ship is being held for two weeks in a harbour in Yokohama, Japan - and about 3,700 people on board.

It is believed there are 78 British citizens - including crew - are currently on the Diamond Princess.

Meanwhile, in the UK the third coronavirus patient is thought to have caught the illness in Singapore as authorities warn travellers from Thailand and Singapore to self-isolate if they begin feeling unwell.

The patient, who is being treated in a London hospital, is believed to be a middle-aged British man who was transferred from an A&E in Brighton to St Thomas' Hospital in the capital.

As the outbreak continues to worsen in China, the global death toll has reached 636, with the number of confirmed cases rising to 31,161. Some 260 cases have been recorded outside China.

Passengers on the ship have been restricted to their cabins
Passengers on the ship have been restricted to their cabins. Picture: PA

Health officials are not believed to be "contact tracing" people on any Asia-UK flight the latest sufferer may have travelled on.

Two other patients are still being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary infectious diseases centre in Newcastle.

The Government is now urging travellers from countries including Thailand, Singapore, Japan and South Korea to self-isolate if they begin to feel unwell.

Other countries on the list are Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Macau, as well as mainland China.

Anyone arriving from these locations should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if they develop symptoms such as a cough, fever or shortness of breath, the advice warns.

The warning, posted on the Government website, says: "These countries have been identified because of the volume of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and number of reported cases. This list will be kept under review."

Until Thursday, this advice only related to people travelling from Wuhan in China.

The UK Foreign Office has advised Britons in China to leave if they are able to.

More than 80 UK citizens and family members who were the first to be quarantined at Arrow Park Hospital on the Wirral have been told they can leave next Thursday.

The group are spending 14 days in isolation but will be released next week as long as they remain symptom-free.