Coronavirus-hit cruise passengers land in UK ahead of quarantine

A flight carrying 32 British and European evacuees from a coronavirus-hit cruise ship has landed back in the UK.

The plane touched down at Ministry of Defence (MoD) base Boscombe Down in Wiltshire shortly after 11.30 am on Saturday.

Passengers have been driven to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral for 14 days of quarantine to protect against the spread of the illness should any of them be infected. 

They have so far all tested negative for Covid-19.

Read more: Cruise ship coronavirus patients post pictures from hospital after being treated

The plane carrying 32 British and European evacuees has landed in the UK (Picture: PA)
Passengers in coaches leave MoD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire (Picture: PA)

The evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have spent more than two weeks stuck off the coast of Japan.

It is unclear where the small number of EU citizens will be taken following the plane landing in the UK.

In a statement issued after the plane landed, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We have brought 32 British and European citizens safely home from Japan.

“The FCO worked hard to get them back to the UK securely.

“Our number one priority has consistently been the health and safety of UK nationals.”

Passengers in coaches leave MoD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire (Picture: PA)

The four Britons on board the Diamond Princess who have tested positive for coronavirus were not on the flight.

Since being kept on board the cruise liner in the port of Yokohama, a total of 634 passengers and crew have been infected, accounting for more than half of all the confirmed coronavirus cases outside of China.

It is understood some British nationals who are part of the Diamond Princess crew opted to remain.

Read more: Four Britons on board cruise ship in Japan test positive for coronavirus

Passengers leave a plane to board a coach at MoD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire (Picture: PA)
The passengers were repatriated to the UK from a cruise ship hit by the coronavirus in Yokohama, Japan (Picture: PA)

One British couple on board who were diagnosed with coronavirus have both since been diagnosed with pneumonia.

The family of David and Sally Abel, from Northamptonshire, said they have now been moved to a “prison”-like hospital.

Read more: New coronavirus cases fall as Wuhan round-up under way

The couple were on the cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary when it was placed into quarantine.

Arrowe Park was previously used to host 83 British nationals for a 14-day quarantine period earlier in February after they were flown out of Wuhan in China, which has been at the centre of the outbreak.