Coronavirus: Evacuation flight for Britons due to land at Boscombe Down

Coronavirus: Evacuation flight for Britons due to land at Boscombe Down

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 12:39pm 20th February 2020. (Updated at 11:59am 22nd February 2020)

3 minute read

A plane carrying people from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship will arrive in the UK at the weekend.

The flight is expected to leave Japan on Friday (21st February) and land early on Saturday morning (22nd February).

That's due to arrive at the MOD airbase at Boscombe Down, with those on board taken for a 2 week stay in isolation at Arrowe Park Hospital on The Wirral.

Only British nationals who have displayed no symptoms of COVID-19 will be allowed to fly back to the UK.

The Diamond Princess, which has been quarantined in Japan since 3rd February, has 78 Britons on board.

Four of those have tested positive for coronavirus already. 

More than 620 people in total have tested positive for COVID-19 on the cruise liner.

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The coronavirus has been declared a worldwide health emergency by the WHO


Two of the infected British passengers are David and Sally Abel, from Northamptonshire, who have been transferred to hospital which they said was "lovely".

In a Facebook post, Mr Abel said:

"Outside the hospital I came over a bit weird and nearly passed out. Every pore on my body opened and I was wheelchaired to our room.

"Full health inspection and now we know what's going on. We both contracted a cold [unaware of] and it has not yet turned into pneumonia. [We do have coronavirus.]

"Tomorrow the big tests commence. Chest x-rays, ECG, chest scan, urine + more.

"We are both in the best place! They do know what they are doing and our two nurses are gorgeous. Sally likes the Dr too."


As of Wednesday afternoon (19th February), 5,216 people in the UK had been tested for coronavirus, with nine testing positive.

A total of 74,578 cases have been confirmed in mainland China where 2,029 people have died since the virus was detected in December.

Eight people have died from the virus outside mainland China.

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