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Published on Monday, February 17, 2020

UK passengers on Diamond Princess beg Govt to bring them home

A Brit on board Diamond Princess has begged the Government to bring himself and the other 77 UK passengers home.

David Abel, who has regularly shared social media posts since being quarantined on the ship on February 3, said he has 'never felt less loved by my country'.

He spoke after 70 passengers on board the quarantined ship tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend, bringing the total to 355.

Among the newly diagnosed are at least one Brit, 15 Australians, 40 Americans, three Israelis and one Canadian.

Princess has cancelled saillings on board the ship until April 20.

The US government is preparing to evacuate its 400 American citizens from the ship, as the Center for Disease Control warns: "The data coming out of Japan suggests there's a higher risk among people on the ship."

The US passengers will have to go through another two-week quarantine period once they arrive home.  Hong Kong and Canada have also said they will repatriate their nationals on board.

Mr Abel said: "I thought the UK would be as quick as the USA. But it just shows we're wrong."

He added: "Can I just tell you - UK - how this makes me really feel. It feels that we have been forgotten that you don't really care about us and that you're actually not wanting us to come home.

"And this is going to be final time at begging you to change this situation for my friends on board this ship who are English - less than 80 of us - to get us off ASAP."

He said he had been told he could be on board for up to eight weeks. However, Princess Cruises chief medical officer Dr Grant Tarling said in a video on Friday that the ship's 14-day quarantine will end this week.

Dr Tarling said: "Most cases are mild to moderate cold and flu, some have no symptoms. A small number typically those with pre-existing medical illnesses, have had more serious symptoms.

"The virus spreads mostly from person-to-person contact with people, such as coughing and sneezing. There is no current evidence it spreads through air ventilation systems. However, in an abundance of caution we have maximised fresh air into the cabins. "

He told the passengers: "We'll do everything we can to keep you safe."

In response to Mr Abel's  plea to come home, a British Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are urgently speaking to authorities in Japan and the UK. We are working around the clock to ensure the welfare of the British nationals on board."

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