Brit couple on cruise do NOT have coronavirus as they blame ‘language barrier’

A Brit couple on quarantined cruise ship have said they do not have coronavirus as the blamed a miscommunication for the false alarm.

David Abel and his wife Sally announced yesterday they had tested positive for the virus on the Diamond Princess

The couple have been issuing regular updates for the vessel that has been under quarantine due to an outbreak of the killer coronavirus.

But now the couple have announced they do not have the virus and they are waiting to be transferred to a hostel.

In a post on Facebook, David blamed the language barrier between staff and passengers.

The couple are among 74 British passengers on-board the Diamond Princess, where more than 500 people have already caught the illness which originated in China.

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In David’s latest Facebook post, he said: “packed and waited 8 hours in the cabin to be transported to a hostel.

“We are still on the ship! They do NOT send folk with the virus to a hostel!!”

"Massive communication error yesterday. The Japanese quarantine officials to not speak any English.

"They came to our door & told us to be ready to be taken to the hostel.”

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He added: “My mindset was ‘virus’ and said "positive then". He nodded.

"I don’t think he was saying yes to the virus but positive we were moving out??

"He followed up by saying it will probably be just 4 or 5 days. You would not say that to a virus victim.

"The consulate in Tokyo are being very good with me. I am being listened to and Sally & I feel really well.

"I will get more info out when I know what’s happening. Thank you for your love and concern."

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David had been begging the government to send a rescue plane to bring them home and then accused the UK Government of ignoring their pleas for help.

The 74-year-old who describes himself as a "staunch Tory" said he and his wife "no confidence" in Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"When he [Johnson] just says 'keep calm, don't panic' – I'd like to see you in this situation, mate. I really would," he said.

The holidaymaker also directly appealed to Richard Branson, asking him to send a private plane to bring those Brits on board back to the UK.

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The couple’s son Steve has said his parents are "not getting any communication" from the UK.

Steve said: "They are very high-spirited people."

He added: "There are cracks in the armour and they are getting down."

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: "My mum breaks down in tears frequently, my dad is short-tempered.

"They are not getting any communication from our country, so they are in the dark and feeling very unloved."

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A Number 10 spokesman said on Monday those on board the Diamond Princess, which is docked in Yokohama off the coast of Japan, were being contacted about the possibility of a repatriation flight.

It comes as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is attempting to contact British passengers who had travelled on another cruise ship, the Westerdam, after a female guest tested positive when she left the vessel.

The FCO has faced pressure to fly home the 74 Britons on the Diamond Princess after the US chartered two planes and repatriated 340 of its citizens.

On Monday, the Japanese Health Ministry confirmed 99 more people on board have been diagnosed with the illness, bringing the total to 454.

Four Britons with confirmed coronavirus are currently in hospital in Japan, according to the latest official figures.

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A Number 10 spokesman said: "We sympathise with all those caught up in this extremely difficult situation.

"The Foreign Office is in contact with all British people on the Diamond Princess, including to establish interest in a possible repatriation flight.

"We are urgently considering all options to guarantee the health and safety of those on board."

It comes after Sir Richard Branson said Virgin Atlantic was "in discussions" with the Government over whether he could help those stranded.

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The couple's son David Abel renewed appeals for the Government to help his parents, who he fears may become separated in Japan.

Both are still awaiting the results of their own tests for Covid-19.

Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz said the firm has worked with authorities to send more doctors and nurses on board the ship and has helped fulfil 2,000 prescription requests.

However, there is still uncertainty over whether passengers will be able to leave the ship at the end of the 14-day quarantine period on Wednesday.

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The Government is currently tracing British passengers who were on board Holland America's Westerdam cruise ship, which is reported to have carried more than 100 passengers from the UK.

All passengers were allowed to disembark on Friday, when there had been no confirmed cases on board at the time.

A female guest, reported to be American, has since been diagnosed with Covid-19 in Malaysia.

It is understood that the FCO is not aware of any British nationals who travelled on the cruise ship who have been diagnosed with the virus.

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An FCO spokeswoman said: "Our staff are providing consular assistance to British nationals in Cambodia who have travelled on the Westerdam cruise ship and are working with the operator to establish contact with those who have recently disembarked."

Meanwhile, the Government has block-booked the Holiday Inn Heathrow Ariel hotel as a potential quarantine zone for international visitors to the UK who develop coronavirus, or for Britons evacuated from overseas.

As of Monday afternoon, 4,501 people in total have now been tested for Covid-19 in the UK, of which nine have come back positive.

Public Health England (PHE) has published guidance saying that no restrictions or special control measures are needed while tests for Covid-19 are carried out on a suspected case.

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While a pupil or staff member suspected of coming into contact with the virus is being tested, the guidance says no action is needed.

If a case of the virus is confirmed, then health protection teams would trace those at risk.

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Nine people in the UK have tested positive for Covid-19, with eight of those patients now discharged from hospital.

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