Britons on board a quarantined cruise ship in Japan following the coronavirus outbreak will face 14 days of isolation in NHS accommodation at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral when they return home.
It is the same facility where 94 people, who were previously flown back to the UK from the virus’ epicentre in Wuhan, China, were also quarantined for a fortnight until they were released last week.
Image: Workers in protective gear are seen near the Diamond Princess in Yokohama
In a letter to staff, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Trust said: “Following the successful management of two previous groups of repatriated British citizens, from Wuhan in China, Arrowe Park has been asked to host the Britons from Japan and look after them throughout their quarantine period.
“We are still waiting for final confirmation of how many will be joining us but we wanted you to be aware of the situation as soon as we could.”
Image: Some passengers were seen getting taxis after being allowed to leave the ship
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) says UK passengers on the Diamond Princess will be evacuated “as soon as possible”.
There were 78 British nationals on the ship – which has been docked off the coast of Yokohama since 3 February – and four have since been confirmed to have the illness, also known as Covid-19.
Image: The ship has been docked off the coast of Yokohama since 3 February
But the UK government has warned anyone who gets off may not be able to join the evacuation flight.
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Hundreds of people who tested negative began leaving the ship on Wednesday, but they still had to have their body temperature checked before disembarking.
Some passengers tweeted to say they received health check forms asking if they had symptoms such as a headache, fever or coughing.
The FCO is organising a repatriation flight from Tokyo to the UK, which it hopes will go ahead later this week, but it is unclear how many British nationals will be on board.
It is understood only those without symptoms will be allowed to fly, while any confirmed cases will continue to be treated in Japan.
David and Sally Abel, from Oxfordshire, have been posting regular updates online from the Diamond Princess, and say they have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
Image: David and Sally Abel have been quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Pic: David Abel/Facebook
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, he said: “We are going to a hostel because there isn’t a hospital bed anywhere around.
“In four or five days we will be removed from the hostel and put into a hospital where we will receive treatment, so I can’t see in any way we are on that flight to the UK.”
Those who make it will be monitored and then taken to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.
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A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “They will be kept in this location for the 14-day quarantine period, with around-the-clock support from medical staff at all times.”
He added that there was “no risk to the public”, and that the hospital would “continue to run as normal”.
The @ForeignOffice are working to organise a flight for British nationals on the #DiamondPrincess as soon as possible.Upon their return, they will be isolated at the Arrowe Park accommodation facility.There is no risk to the public. The hospital will continue to run as normal pic.twitter.com/ENxUBVycRJ
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) 19 February 2020
It comes as Alan Steele, the first Briton to be diagnosed with the virus, said on Facebook that he had left hospital.
As of Wednesday afternoon, a total of 5,216 people have been tested for Covid-19 in the UK, of whom nine have come back positive.
According to Johns Hopkins University, which is mapping the outbreak, there are 75,284 confirmed cases. of which are mostly in China where the outbreak began and 2,014 deaths.
Source : Sky News