Coronavirus: first fatality in Europe confirmed – live updates – The Guardian

8.31am EST

UK citizens on board the locked down cruise ship in Japan are appealing to be brought home for quarantine in Britain but the government has not yet said if it would follow the US lead in flying them out.

Earlier, the US embassy in Tokyo announced it would fly out an estimated 380 Americans currently on board the vessel, which has been in quarantine since the start of the month.

Asked if the UK was planning an evacuation flight for British nationals on board the Diamond Princess, a Foreign Office spokesperson said only that officials are “working around the clock to ensure the welfare of the British nationals on board” and “urgently speaking to authorities in Japan and the UK”.

Yesterday, a British man stuck with his wife onboard the luxury cruise ship appealed to billionaire Richard Branson to save them. In a Facebook live video, David Abel asked the Virgin boss to charter a plane to fly all British nationals on the ship home to carry out their quarantine.

Appealing directly to Branson, he said: “If you and your family were in this situation, what would you do? And please don’t say ‘chill out, stay calm’, that’s not what we want to hear.

“I’m asking, what would it cost to hire one of your smaller planes, put all the Brits onboard, no flight attendants, packaged food?”

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Eight coronavirus patients released from hospital in the UK

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