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British nationals to be evacuated from Diamond Princess cruise liner


The Diamond Princess cruise ship is pictured at dusk at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
The Diamond Princess cruise ship is pictured at dusk at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama port. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Amid pleas from British passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise liner, the UK government has said it will evacuate citizens “as soon as possible”.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is working to organise a flight back to the UK for British nationals on the Diamond Princess in Japan, following the outbreak of coronavirus, an official statement said on Tuesday (18).

Reports said that there are as many as 78 Britons stuck on the ship since February 3. At least three Britons tested positive and were receiving treatment.

“Given the conditions on board, we are working to organise a flight back to the UK for British nationals on the Diamond Princess as soon as possible.
Our staff are contacting British nationals on board to make the necessary arrangements. We urge all those who have not yet responded to get in touch immediately,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said.

“Frankly I think this is a setup! We are NOT being taken to a hospital but a hostel. That’s where partners are sent waiting out there quarantine. No phone, no wi-fi and no medical facilities. I am smelling a very big rat here! Waiting for the transfer now,” British passenger David Abel wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

South Korea became the latest to announce it would remove its citizens from the Diamond Princess, where more than 400 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

So far, the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and now South Korea have said they will evacuate their citizens from the ship.

Japan has faced criticism for its handling of the situation, with dozens of new infections detected almost daily since the ship arrived in early February.