More than 100 Brits to start leaving coronavirus cruise ship on Monday

9 March 2020, 11:20

Brits on board the Grand Princess cruise ship will be allowed to leave from today onwards
Brits on board the Grand Princess cruise ship will be allowed to leave from today onwards. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

More than 100 UK nationals will be allowed to start leaving the coronavirus-hit cruise ship off the Californian coast on Monday.

Passengers will be given the green light to disembark the Grand Princess from today onwards in a process that could take a number of days.

UK nationals who have been quarantined on the vessel have described feeling tired and "fed up" after being confined to their cabins since Thursday.

Since the ship was earmarked as being a potential coronavirus hotspot, 21 people have tested positive for Covid-19.

The boat is set to dock in the port of Oakland, east of San Francisco bay, on Monday.

Princess Cruises also owns the Diamond Princess, which was placed into quarantine in Japan last month.

A spokeswoman for operator Princess Cruises said: "Disembarkation will commence in order of priority, as defined and directed by both state and local authorities. It is expected to be a multiple-day process."

There are 142 British nationals on board - both guests and crew members.

The crew will remain on the ship as it departs from San Francisco Bay once all guests are off, a spokeswoman added.

"Plans for a crew quarantine are still being determined," she said.

Passengers will be tested for the virus once they arrive at their onward destination, the spokeswoman added.

The UK government said it was working closely with US officials and keeping in close contact with Britons on board the ship, while "working intensively" to arrange a repatriation flight.

A spokesman said: "We are working intensively with the US authorities on arrangements for a flight for British nationals who are currently on the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California.

"We are in contact with all British nationals on board to offer assistance, as well as local authorities and staff on board the ship."

Neil and Victoria Hanlon, from Bridgwater in Somerset, said they were eager to get home.

Speaking before news of the planned disembarkation was announced, Mr Hanlon said he felt "gutted" that they might have to stay on the ship for another few days.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak

He said: "(We're feeling) very suppressed, very tired, fed up. Just want to get home."

Mr Hanlon said food is now being limited, and Mrs Hanlon added: "We just want to get back to Britain, really."