Coronavirus: Wuhan Britons end quarantine as cruise passengers isolate

By on February 23, 2020

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Dozens of evacuees from a coronavirus-hit cruise ship have begun their two-week quarantine in the UK, as more than 100 others rescued from China leave isolation.

Those evacuated from the Diamond Princess ship in Japan will spend 14 days at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral.

Meanwhile, Britons previously evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan have ended their isolation in Milton Keynes.

On Saturday, the government confirmed that no new UK cases had been detected.

People with backpacks and suitcases were pictured getting into waiting taxis outside Kents Hill Park conference centre in Bedfordshire, where 118 UK nationals and their family members were isolated.

It came as the Foreign Office amended its travel advice for South Korea as cases of the new coronavirus, and the disease it causes, increased.

It advised against all but essential travel to the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo in the country, which have been declared “special care zones” by South Korean authorities.

The latest group of Britons to be evacuated – passengers from the cruise liner Diamond Princess – arrived at Arrowe Park on Saturday.

The 30 Britons and two Irish citizens will spend the next two weeks isolated from the world in nurses’ accommodation.

They have already spent two weeks in quarantine on board the ship, but since then 600 passengers and crew have tested positive for the new virus.

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Those evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship landed at Boscombe Down, a MoD base in Wiltshire

Four Britons from the ship who recently tested positive for the new coronavirus were not on the latest evacuation flight.

They include David and Sally Abel, from Northamptonshire, who have since been diagnosed with pneumonia, according to their family.

They are being treated in a Japanese hospital.

Hospital ‘blueprint’

Arrowe Park was previously used to isolate 83 British nationals who were flown back to the UK from Wuhan.

The chief executive of Wirral Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, Janelle Holmes, said the hospital was using its previous experience as a “blueprint” for treating the new group.

In other developments:

  • Italy has introduced “extraordinary measures” to tackle the spread of the new virus there after the number of cases in the country rose to 79 – including two Italian citizens who have died
  • Restrictions by the Italian government led to the postponement of the Scotland Women’s Six Nations rugby match on Sunday, with plans put in place to bring staff and players back to the UK
  • In South Korea, a fourth person has died and the number of confirmed cases has jumped to more than 550, an increase of more than 100 on the previous day. Most cases are linked to a hospital and a religious group near the south-eastern city of Daegu
  • Israel refused to allow some 200 non-Israelis to disembark from a plane which had arrived from South Korea, sending them back to Seoul; the 12 Israelis on board were quarantined
  • Iran reported its fifth death from the disease, and ordered the closure of schools, universities and cultural centres in 14 provinces

Chinese health authorities reported a decrease in the rate of deaths and new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday. Some 76,392 cases including 2,348 deaths have been confirmed in China.

The head of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the greatest concern now was countries with weaker health systems, particularly in Africa.

In the UK, a total of 6,152 people have been tested for the virus, as of 14:00 GMT on Saturday. Nine people have tested positive.

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