Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Son of British cruise ship couple with coronavirus blasts 'appalling' way Foreign Office have handled evacuation

The son of a British couple who caught coronavirus on a cruise ship in Japan has today savaged the UK government's 'appalling' handling of the case as he urged the Foreign Office to 'go and get them'.  

Steve Abel said his parents David and Sally Abel were 'not getting any communication' from Whitehall and were 'feeling very unloved' despite repeated pleas for help.  

The British couple were among 88 people who tested positive for the virus in Japan today, taking the number of infections on board the ship to 542. 

They will now be taken into a further quarantine on the mainland just a day before their stay on board the Diamond Princess was due to end. 

Their son has urged the Foreign Office to rescue them despite their positive test amid growing pressure after the US evacuated 340 of its citizens on Monday.    

The British embassy is today preparing an evacuation flight for the 78 Britons on board, but it is unclear whether Mr and Mrs Abel will be eligible.  

Steve Abel has also blasted the 'failure' of Japan's quarantine measures after the number of patients spiralled despite the two-week lockdown. 

He said he could hear his father vomiting when he spoke to his parents the phone, although he thought it might be 'shock' rather than a virus symptom.   

The lockdown officially ends tomorrow, but passengers who were close to virus patients will have to finish a 14-day quarantine from the date of their last contact. 

Even for passengers who can leave, Japanese officials say the disembarkation process could take several days.   


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