THE son of a British couple who have tested positive for coronavirus after being stranded on a bug-infested cruise ship has urged the UK government to “go and get them”.
David, 74, and Sally Abel are among the 78 Brits on the Diamond Princess liner since it docked in Japan on February 3 after an outbreak of the virus.
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David has spent the last two weeks begging the UK government to take action and rescue British nationals on board in his daily social media posts.
The couple son’s Steven has told This Morning that the “quarantine has been a failure” after his parents were struck down with the bug in the last 24 hours.
He said: “All I want now is for the UK authorities to still go and get them.
“I know they have tested positive but whatever they are doing in Japan…why can’t that happen here in the UK.”
Steven said that when he FaceTimed his parents today he was unable to speak to his dad David because he was vomiting.
All I want now is for the UK authorities to still go and get them
He said his father has “underlying health problems” including type-2 diabetic for which he is insulin-dependent.
Steven, who was speaking via video-link from Salford, Greater Manchester, said David has a tooth infection which combined with his diabetes could be more serious than the virus itself..
With only a day left of their 14-day isolation on board the ship, and after saying he’d “never felt less loved by my own country”, the David and Sally have been struck down by the killer bug.
Only this morning have the UK Foreign Office said they are “working to organise” a flight back to the UK for Brits stuck on the ship – which has become infested with the virus since it docked two weeks ago.
For David and Sally it’s too little too late.
Writing on Facebook today, David said: “There is going to be a time of quiet. We have been proved positive and leaving for hospital soon. Blessings all xxx”
And he later said they weren’t going to hospital – but were being taken instead to a hostel to be isolated.
He wrote: “That’s where partners are sent waiting out their quarantine. No phone, no wi-fi and no medical facilities.”
He and his wife, from Oxfordshire, had been desperately appealing for help to get off the cruise – even tweeting Sir Richard Branson in an attempt to be saved.
And he has repeatedly criticised UK authorities for not acting fast enough to rescue them.
In a video post on Feb 16, David slammed the British government after Washington chartered two planes to evacuate hundreds of Americans from the ship.
He said: “Don’t you want the English people home?
I’ve never felt less loved by my own country
“I am always proud to be British but this now – it’s gone beyond a joke, I’ve never felt less loved by my own country.”
David and Sally are among 169 people confirmed to have the deadly bug on the cruise ship in the last 48 hours – taking the total number of those infected on the boat to above 500.
The revelation they have tested positive for coronavirus comes just one day before their quarantine on the Diamond Princess was due to end.
About 70 Brits were on board the cruise ship before the outbreak.
Around 2,500 passengers on the UK-flagged luxury liner have been confined to their cabins since it docked in Yokohama, Japan, earlier this month.
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.”
There were initially 3,700 passengers trapped on board but some have been taken off the cruise in Yokahoma to be treated for the killer bug.
Those who remained on the ship were told their quarantine would be over on February 19 after the official two-week isolation period.
The global death toll is currently at 1,874.
Up to 58 million people have been forced into indefinite lockdown in China’s Hubei province – the region at the centre of the outbreak.
The coronavirus was first detected in the city of Wuhan in the central Chinese province in December.