British passengers will be evacuated from a cruise ship that had been quarantined for two weeks off the coast of Japan after hundreds of people on board fell ill with the coronavirus.
The repatriated passengers face another 14-day quarantine upon arrival in the UK after being stranded on the ship at a port near Tokyo.
The British-flagged Diamond Princess arrived in Yokohama on Feb 3. with about 3,700 people onboard after the virus was diagnosed in a man who disembarked last month in Hong Kong. Over 600 passengers have tested positive for the virus.
Britain’s foreign minister, Dominic Raab, said that the flight will leave from Tokyo, and urged any other Britons who wanted to leave to get in touch.
Raab urged “other British nationals still seeking to leave to contact us”. He said: “We will continue to support British nationals who wish to stay in Japan.”
The repatriated will be quarantined at accommodation at Arrowe Park Hospital, near Liverpool, in northern England on their return, according to the health ministry.
There were more than 70 British passengers on the cruise liner when cases of the coronavirus strain known as Covid-19 started to emerge.