Coronavirus: Brits told not to leave cabins on quarantined cruise ship as 10 passengers test positive

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

Two Brits on board a cruise ship that has seen an outbreak of the new coronavirus have been told not to leave their cabins for two weeks.

Ten people on board the Diamond Princess have tested positive for the deadly virus, leading authorities to lock down the vessel and put it in quarantine.

The ship, carrying around 3,700 passengers, had been in limbo in Yokohama Bay, awaiting test results after an 80-year-old passenger who left the ship in Hong Kong on 25 January tested positive for the coronavirus.

The diagnosis of the virus was announced to the ship on Wednesday morning after the situation "changed dramatically overnight", passenger David Abel, of Woodford Halse in Oxfordshire, told Sky News.

Abel said an intercom announcement at 6.30am told passengers they could not leave their cabins for any reason.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship, with around 3,700 people on board, sits anchored in quarantine off the port of Yokohama, Japan (Getty)
A boat passes the Diamond Princess (Getty)
David Abel said he will have to remain in his cabin on board the ship for two weeks (Sky News)

Speaking on a video posted on Facebook, Abel, who is on board the ship with his wife Sally, said: "We are now officially in quarantine.

"It appears that our quarantine is on board the ship, that we will not be taken off to a hospital.

"The 10 people that are affected, they are being taken off very soon by the local coastguard into a medical facility. We are to remain on board the ship and we are confined to our cabins.”

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Officials boarded the ship on Monday night and told passengers they would be running medical checks on everyone.

This took from midnight until 7pm local time to complete.

Passengers had their temperatures taken, and were asked if they had a cough and if they were taking any medication to reduce their temperature.

Medical workers in protective suits lead a passenger tested positive for coronavirus from the ship (AP)
Medical workers in protective suits surround the quarantined vessel (AP)

Abel added: "The positive thing in this is... our balcony is facing the sun.

"If we don't come back with a suntan then there's something wrong. We are allowed on to our balconies, so I think most of my day will be spent writing, researching and being absolutely lazy.

"It could be worse – we could be taken off and put into a local hospital.

"Naturally we want to be home. We are missing our little Yorkie dogs. But two weeks, it'll go quite quickly I hope.”

A worker wearing protective gears sprays disinfectant at a Chinese food store as a precaution against coronavirus at Daelim market in Seoul, South Korea (AP)
Pedestrians wear face masks in Hong Kong as a preventative measure (Getty)

The Abels arrived on the ship 15 days ago and said they visited five more ports after the man carrying the coronavirus disembarked.

After his illness came to light they had to undergo more health checks to visit their final port.