British passengers from virus-hit cruise ship arrive home

  • World
  • Saturday, 22 Feb 2020

Passengers who have been under quarantine on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off the coast of Japan, the Diamond Princess, are seen wearing face masks as they leave RAF Boscombe Down in Amesbury, Britain, February 22, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Some 30 British passengers arrived back home on Saturday after spending more than two weeks stuck on a quarantined cruise ship in a Japanese port due to the coronavirus outbreak.

They landed at a defence ministry airfield in southwestern England on a government-chartered plane from Tokyo and were being taken straight to quarantine facilities.

The Diamond Princess liner was carrying 3,700 people, including 78 Britons, when it was quarantined in Yokohama on Feb. 5 after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was found to have the virus.

More than 620 passengers on board have been infected with the coronavirus, the most outside mainland China.

Some British passengers had already been evacuated over the last week on flights to Hong Kong, the BBC reported. Others were being treated for the virus in health facilities in Japan.

At least four UK nationals contracted the virus on board, but those arriving home on Saturday had tested negative.

As of Friday afternoon, a total of 5,549 people in Britain have been tested for coronavirus, of whom nine were positive.

(Reporting by Stephen Addison, Editing by William Maclean)

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