Four new UK coronavirus cases among ship evacuees

Four patients who arrived at Arrowe Park last night from a Japanese cruise ship are believed to have tested positive for Coronavirus.

The 32 passengers arrived at the Wirral hospital last night, after spending two weeks quarantined on The Diamond Princess liner.

They are due to spend another two weeks quarantined at the hospital, before being allowed to return home.

Yesterday Public Health England has confirmed all of the passengers travelling to Arrowe Park were assessed by medical staff and none are displaying any symptoms of the virus.

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An ambulance and police are seen as coaches containing British Diamond Princess evacuees arrive at Arrowe Park Hospital
An ambulance and police are seen as coaches containing British Diamond Princess evacuees arrive at Arrowe Park Hospital (Image: Getty Images)

But the ECHO understands that four of the passengers have now tested positive for the virus, but still aren’t showing symptoms of the infection.

The passengers who have tested positive are now expected to travel to the Royal Liverpool Hospital for treatment, or to a hospital in Sheffield.

A statement on the Department of Health website from Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Witty said: “Four further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to thirteen.

“The virus was passed on in the Diamond Princess cruise ship and the patients are being transferred from Arrowe Park to specialist NHS infection centres.”

Janelle Holmes, Chief Executive at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS FT said: Over the past few weeks, I have endeavoured to ensure that you are kept up to date with developments as they happen in relation to our guests.

“I wanted to be the first to tell you that four of our guests have now tested positive for COVID-19. They have been moved off site to an appropriate isolation facility.

“We always had a plan in place for this eventuality – and this has been carried out successfully.

“I want to repeat and reassure that we are continuing to work with national experts from PHE at all times and they are on site, along with local infection control experts and other health care professionals.

“When guests arrived yesterday evening, we followed clear guidance in relation to infection prevention control.

“This was to minimise the chance of any infection spreading. Just to reiterate that our hospital is running as usual including all community led services.

“Please continue to help us to ensure that our patients are getting accurate information on this situation and are attending appointments as usual.

“We are extremely grateful to those members of staff from across all our partners who are continuing to support our guests in such a professional way “And just as importantly other staff, for their patience in what are exceptional evolving circumstances.
The quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship sits docked at the Daikoku Pier at night on February 20, 2020 in Yokohama, Japan (Image: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

“We are all used to dealing with people who can have a range of illnesses and infections as part of our day jobs – and I’m sure that as professionals working in the NHS we will all continue to deliver safe and effective care for patients.

“As promised, I will continue to keep you informed and we will be having a face-to-face update for staff tomorrow – we will send round separate details. This will be your chance to ask any further questions. If you have any concerns, please speak to a member of the executive team at any time.

On Saturday a flight carrying 32 evacuees, 30 British citizens and 2 Irish citizens, landed at Boscombe Down airbase in Wiltshire, after leaving Tokyo on Friday night.

The new set of evacuees arrived just days after 83 British evacuees flown back to the UK from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, left the hospital following two weeks of quarantine on the Wirral.

Seventy-eight Britons were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship which spent weeks docked in Yokohama, Japan. Those who did not fly back on Saturday were either being treated for coronavirus or making their own arrangements to get home.


A total of 634 people on the ship tested positive for the virus, the largest number of confirmed cases outside China.

Four Britons on the ship have tested positive for coronavirus while two Japanese passengers have died after they contracted the virus while on board.

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