Coronavirus: UK citizens land at Boscombe Down

Coronavirus: UK citizens land at Boscombe Down

Published by Helen Down at 12:24pm 22nd February 2020. (Updated at 1:00pm 22nd February 2020)

3 minute read

They spent two weeks isolated on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan.

Dozens of people who spent two weeks isolated on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan have returned to the UK.

Thirty-two British and European nationals took off from Haneda airport in Tokyo late on Friday and landed at Boscombe Down Ministry of Defence base shortly before 12pm on Saturday morning.


The Foreign office also confirmed the  flight had British government and medical staff on board.

On landing, the Britons in the group were due to be taken to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral for two weeks of quarantine.

It is unclear where the small number of EU citizens will be taken.


Among the Britons who have spent two weeks in isolation on the Diamond Princess are Alan and Vanessa Sandford, who were kept in their room after hundreds of cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on board.

Some 634 passengers and crew caught the SARS-like illness aboard the ship, which makes up more than half the confirmed cases outside of China.

Only the people who were not exhibiting symptoms were allowed to board the repatriation flight.

Mr Sandford said he understood why people might be "nervous" about those who have jetted back to the UK, but said he and his wife could not wait to be back home.

He told Sky News:

"I think I might struggle a bit with this second lot of 14 days (on the Wirral).

"You can't get on with your life, everything's on hold, and I've got this certificate that says I'm negative for the virus and nobody on the aircraft is going to be anything other than negative, so it just seems excessive.

"But I understand as well that people are nervous about having people back in the country."

Another passenger, Alan Steele, who was separated from his new wife after being diagnosed with COVID-19, made a joke comparison between his awaited quarantine on the Wirral and Butlins.

Writing on Facebook, he said:

"Wendy's test was negative so Butlins the Wirral here we come for 14 days."

One Briton who has already spent two weeks on the Wirral after being evacuated from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak in China, said the time should go quickly.

"It is going to be boring at times, but if you can interact with others a bit and use the entertainment systems the time should pass pretty quickly,"


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