Around 70 British people have been under quarantine on the ship for over two weeks after the ship was struck by coronavirus – now known as Covid-19.
Set to take the Brits back to the UK, a flight was put in place for Friday (21 February), but has now been pushed back until Saturday (22 February). Revealing the delay, the British embassy said the flight was “logistically complicated”.
Accouncing the flight before the subsequent recheduling, the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “We’ve organised an evacuation flight for British nationals on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship to depart Tokyo on Friday.
In a continued effort to support our #DiamondPrincess guests and crew, our President Jan Swartz personally welcomed those disembarking in Yokohama today. The entire Princess family is with each and every one of you during this time. ❤️ #HangInThereDiamondPrincess pic.twitter.com/KgHANqKScp
— Princess Cruises (@PrincessCruises) February 20, 2020
“Details have been sent to those who have registered for the flight. We urge other British nationals still seeking to leave to contact us.
“We will continue to support British nationals who wish to stay in Japan.”
On arriving back in the UK, the group of Brits is expected to land in Wiltshire, before being quarantined at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral.
The Arrow Park Hospital accommodation block was previously used to quarantine two groups who were suspected to have the virus.
Out of a total of 3,700 people onboard Diamond Princess, 620 people have tested positive for the virus, the largest group of cases outside China.
Diamond Princess is currently still in Yokohama, Japan, having served 16 days in quarantine.
I can confirm the evacuation flight out of Tokyo on Friday for British nationals from the Diamond Princess cruise ship: https://t.co/vBYNRkvBbK
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) February 20, 2020
Despite the end of the quarantine, the British passengers on board were told to remain onboard the ship.
The Foreign Office warned that British people who disembarked the ship might struggle to get a place on the planned evacuation flight back to the UK.
Those Brits who tested positive for coronavirus won’t be able to board the flight, and are currently being treated in hospitals in mainland Japan. This includes David and Sally Abel, the British couple who have been in active contact with the media.
After two weeks of quarantine, some passengers were allowed to disembark the ship at 7am local time on 19 February, once they had been tested for the virus and given the all-clear.
According to reports, passengers made their way to waiting coaches or jumped into taxis, with over 400 Americans having already boarded an evacuation plane back to the US.