British couple on quarantined cruise ship will stay on board – even if they test negative for coronavirus

David and Sally Abel said they'll stay on board the Diamond Princess even if they test negative for coronavirus (Getty/Good Morning Britain)

A British couple on a quarantined cruise ship have elected to stay on board – even if they test negative for the Covid-19 coronavirus.

David and Sally Abel said they have been given the option to leave the Diamond Princess, which is off the coast of Japan, and continue their quarantine ashore if they test negative for the virus.

But the couple, who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, said they have opted to remain onboard despite the fact people may think they’re “mad” to want to stay on the ship.

The couple’s decision comes as doctors warned that the London Underground could be a hotbed for the spread of coronavirus.

Mr Abel said precautions are high on board the Diamond Princess (PA)

In a video posted on Facebook, Mrs Abel said: “The Japanese health authorities have said if anyone tests negative, they will be given the option to either stay onboard and continue their quarantine onboard, or they could go to a Japanese housing unit or something and do it there.

“But for us, if that was the case for us, we’re obviously going to be better off language-wise staying onboard than we are if we go into some sort of facility run by Japanese.”


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Mr Abel continued: “Passengers will have, providing we’re negative, we’ll have the option to go ashore to finish the quarantine or come on board. We’ve both opted to come back on board.”

The couple told Good Morning Britain they fear being separated if only one of them tests positive for the virus.

Covid-19: confirmed cases. See story HEALTH Coronavirus. Infographic PA Graphics
David Abel said he and his wife fear being split up (Facebook/ David Abel)

Mrs Abel said: “My biggest fear is we are going to be tested in the next couple of days because of our age. They’ve done over-80s, now they’re going to do over-70s.

“We have been together 50 years and, if one of us is infected and the other one isn’t, we will be separated.

“And that I don’t particularly relish.”

Mr Abel added: “That’s the biggest fear. Couples of our age have been separated, two honeymoon couples have been separated. It’s not good for any of us, it really isn’t. It’s horrible.”

He said people might think he and his wife are “mad” for choosing to stay on board, but added: “Our choice – a lot of people may think we’re mad – our choice is to remain on board.

“We’re not coming into contact with anybody. If we open the door to receive food, we have to be masked up; if we go on the balcony, we have to be masked up.

“The precautions really are very high.”

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