The Foreign Office is attempting to rescue more than 70 British guests and crew trapped onboard a Princess Cruises ship quarantined off the coast of Japan amid the coronavirus crisis.
The FCO confirmed, during the early hours of Tuesday (18 February) morning, it was “working to organise” a flight back to the UK for all the British nationals onboard Diamond Princess.
The ship was quarantined in the port of Yokohama more than a fortnight ago after a guest tested positive for the infection, which has quickly spread across much of China claiming in excess of 1,000 lives.
More than 600 people onboard Diamond Princess have now tested positive for the virus, including British couple David and Sally Abel, who have been using Facebook and social media to document their life onboard the stricken ship.
The couple criticised the government’s lack of intervention in a fresh video message issued at the weekend, and called personally on Virgin Atlantic owner Richard Branson to arrange a repatriation flight for British guests.
Branson responded to the Abels’ plea in a tweet at the weekend, in which he said: “Virgin Atlantic does not fly to Japan, but we are in discussions with the UK government and seeing if there is anything we can do to help.”