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Coronavirus: British couple diagnosed in Japan say they are happy with treatment

UK News | Published:

David and Sally Abel will not be able to fly back to the UK with other Britons on Friday.

Sally and David Abel

A British couple diagnosed with coronavirus in Japan have said they are “in the best place” as they posted pictures from their hospital beds.

David and Sally Abel, from Northamptonshire, have been transferred for hospital treatment from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been quarantined near Yokohama, Japan.

Around 70 other Britons from the ship are due to fly back to the UK from Tokyo on Friday on a repatriation flight organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Thursday 20th February. Thinking of all the Brits flying to UK tomorrow. Here I am having given 10 files of blood, ECG (EKG) and radiogram

Posted by David Abel on Wednesday, February 19, 2020

In a Facebook post, Mr Abel said: “We arrived in lovely hospital a couple of hours ago.

“Taken by ambulance blues & twos the entire journey.

“Outside the hospital I came over a bit weird and nearly passed out. Every pore on my body opened and i was wheelchaired to our room.

“Full health inspection and now we know what’s going on. We both contracted a cold (unaware of) and it has not yet turned into pneumonia. (we do have coronavirus).

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Covid-19: confirmed cases
(PA Graphics)

“Tomorrow the big tests commence. chest x-rays, ECG, chest scan, urine + more.

“We are both in the best place! They do know what they are doing and our two nurses are gorgeous. Sally likes the Dr too.”

Mr Abel said that following treatment, the couple will need three rounds of all-clears on coronavirus tests.

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He added: “Wi-fi will not work for me, so this will be the final communication for some time.

“See you all before you know it.”

Now Sally’s turn. Both beds in same room.

Posted by David Abel on Wednesday, February 19, 2020

In further posts, Mr Abel said his wife Sally had a bed in the same room as him and that they were “thinking of all the Brits flying to UK tomorrow.”

He also said it was “impossible to send or receive emails” and he was unable to contact the British Embassy or his family.

Another British national on the ship who has recovered from the virus posted on Facebook on Wednesday to say he is heading home.

Alan Steele wrote: “Informed we will have to do another 2weeks quarentine back in blighty although japan has set me free as all ok.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed the evacuation flight for British nationals on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship will leave from Tokyo.

The PA news agency understands it will leave late on Friday evening Japanese time, and land at MoD Boscombe Down near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Mr Raab said: “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.”

The update comes as authorities in Tokyo said two elderly Japanese passengers taken off the ship have died from the virus.

Meanwhile, Britons in Cambodia who left another cruise ship, the Westerdam, and who have been cleared for travel are being assisted by the Foreign Office to make their way home, sources told the PA news agency.

The group are receiving health advice and being helped with commercial flight bookings. All have tested negative after one case was diagnosed on board.

The number of Britons in the group has not been disclosed, and it is unclear whether some have already come back to the UK.

Public Health England (PHE) said airport health teams will meet the flights and speak to Westerdam passengers about any symptoms.

Passengers leave the Westerdam
Passengers leave the Westerdam (Heng Sinith/AP)

If they do not have symptoms, the group will be given health advice and told to self-isolate at home for 14 days, PHE said.

If they have symptoms, they will be taken to hospital for testing.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said on Wednesday that those Britons repatriated from the Diamond Princess will be quarantined for 14 days at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral on their return.

There were 78 British passengers on the cruise liner when cases of the coronavirus strain known as Covid-19 started to emerge.

Four British cases have since been confirmed by the Foreign Office, although the number could be higher.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has announced the EU will be financing the repatriation of citizens from any of the EU27 still stuck on the Diamond Princess.

As of 2pm on Wednesday, a total of 5,216 people in the UK have been tested for coronavirus, of whom nine have tested positive.

Reports on Wednesday from mainland China said there have been 2,004 deaths and 74,185 confirmed infections of the virus.

New cases have fallen to less than 2,000 per day for the past two days but officials and analysts have warned that the threat of a more serious outbreak remains as people gradually return to work following a prolonged Lunar New Year holiday.

While the overall spread of the virus appears to have been slowing, the situation remains severe in Hubei province where the virus is thought to have originated.

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