The Guardian
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UK, EU nationals land in Britain after virus ship ordeal


A plane carrying dozens of Britons and a few EU nationals who had spent more than two weeks on a cruise ship quarantined off Tokyo landed in Britain on Saturday, officials said.

"The UK has brought home 32 British and European citizens from the Diamond Princess ship," UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

"Thanks to our staff and medics on board who supported the flight."


The plane landed at Boscombe Down's military base in southern England and passengers will be placed in a further 14-day quarantine.

UK officials said those repatriated included a small number of EU citizens, without specifying the precise figure or their nationalities.

The cruise ship was quarantined on February 5 when a passenger who left in Hong Kong was found infected with the new strain of the coronavirus virus that has killed 2,345 people in China and 16 elsewhere in the world.


A total of 78 Britons had been on board the ship.

Those who did not make Saturday's flight were either diagnosed with the virus and quarantined in Japan or had been cleared and flew home on their own.


Passengers were confined to cabins except for brief trips on deck wearing masks and gloves when they were told to keep their distance from others.

Hundreds of passengers have since been allowed to disembark this week after testing negative for the deadly virus.


The United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, and South Korea have all said they will evacuate their citizens from the boat, with more than 300 Americans arriving back on home soil on Monday.

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


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