An evacuation flight with 32 British and European passengers who were sitting on the Diamond Princess strewn with coronavirus must land in Great Britain later this morning.
A fleet of buses is ready and ready to transport the passengers to their two-week quarantine spot in the Wirral.
The number of people flying back to Great Britain is less than half of the 78 British nationals detained on the doomed ship when officials admitted that some refused to board the plane.
An evacuation flight with 32 British and European passengers who were sitting on the Diamond Princess strewn with coronavirus will land in Britain later this morning
Emergency services await the arrival of the British Diamond Princess evacuees at Boscombe Down airport for a repatriation flight from Tokyo
The aircraft left Japan yesterday with passengers, British government officials and medical personnel on board and will land in Boscombe Down, Wiltshire this morning.
Before boarding the aircraft, the passengers signed a document confirming that they would stay in quarantine for 14 days at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside.
Passengers have in-flight entertainment, two hot meals, a blanket and a pillow, Sky News reports.
Yesterday, officials in hazmat suits and face masks waited in the harbor to meet the British when they left the ship, two hours later than originally planned, and boarded buses to take them to Haneda airport in Tokyo.
Of those who did not return to the flight tonight, four infected Britons are in hospital, while a handful of family members are thought to have refused the evacuation to be with their loved ones.
Many have already flown to other countries where they live after they were tired of waiting for the British government to save them.
Dozens of Britons stuck aboard the Coronavirus-strewn Diamond Princess cruise boarded a flight to the UK
Many Britons made their own way earlier in the week to other countries and areas with separate rescue planes because they were tired of waiting for a British airlift (the bus with the remaining British leaves for the airport)
British passengers wave out of the bus window while wearing face masks after they leave the cruise ship for Japan
It is also thought that British members of the Diamond Princess crew have stayed on the ship instead of flying back to the UK, reports The Daily Telegraph.
The British couple David and Sally Abel, who have shared updates of their time on the cruise online and have been confirmed to have corona virus, are also not on the run. Mr. Abel shared a Facebook message on Thursday saying he “thought of all the British flying home” from his hospital bed.
Ministers have been repeatedly accused of the terrible handling of the planned evacuation, with eight countries already managing an airlift – including the US, who flew 300 residents home on 16 and 17 February.
Britons were stuck on the cruise – which has been moored off the coast of Yokohama since 3 February – accused Number 10 of leaving them, saying that their treatment had been “pretty bad” and repatriation “slow.”
A newlywed who caught SARS-CoV-2 – the 58-year-old Alan Steele from Wolverhampton – has since shifted the virus and reunited with his wife Wendy. He joked on Facebook: “Butlins the Wirral here we come for 14 days.”
More than 76,000 cases of the murderous corona virus have been registered worldwide, including at least 630 on the Diamond Princess. Nearly 2,250 patients died, two of whom were older Japanese passengers on the ship.
The group of Britons flown back to the UK will be isolated for at least a month by the time they end up in quarantine in the Wirral and may return to their homes after nearly 21 days stranded on their ships.
Officials in protective suits work on a plane chartered by the British government at Haneda airport, Japan, before the British fly back to the UK
The group that is flown home has spent at least a month in isolation by the time they are completed in quarantine in the Wirral and may return to their own homes (pictured is the flight into Japan before taking off on Friday evening)
A group of just 35 people will be taking a trip to the airlift organized by the British tonight and sources say that a “handful” are EU citizens
A British passenger boarding a bus after leaving the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama
MailOnline understands that the flight is expected to depart around 5 p.m. local time (8 p.m.) after British officials have announced a delay of several hours because they have not yet completed a concrete plan. It is expected that it will take off within a few hours
A civil servant in protective suits checks the temperature of passengers who have left the quarantined Diamond Princes
The Diamond Princess has been moored in Yokohama since 3 February and more than 630 passengers on the giant ship have caught the corona virus
Their rescue was plagued by a series of delays that pushed their buses back six hours after officials announced this morning that it was logistically “complicated.”
Earlier this week, leading scientists warned that the cruise was an ideal breeding ground for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while experts described the ship’s quarantine as a “major failure.”
More than 2,000 people had left on Friday morning, including more than 1,000 who had been allowed to disembark and return to their normal lives.
Alan Steele, from Wolverhampton, destroyed the Foreign Ministry yesterday because they left British on the virus-ridden ship after half a dozen countries rescued their citizens for the UK.
In a devastating attack on the British government, Mr. Steele accused ministers of “treating us badly” and added: “74 British, what the hell do they matter?” ”
Mr. Steele, 58, who was on a honeymoon during the cruise, was forced to leave his new wife Wendy on the ship when he tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on February 7 and was isolated in a Japanese hospital.
British passengers are seen aboard an aircraft after they have left the coronavirus-hit cruise ship Diamond Princess at Haneda Airport on Friday evening
A bus at the Trenton Air Force Base in Quinte West, Ontario, carries Canadian passengers rescued from the Diamond Princess cruise ship
Canadian passengers evacuated from the Diamond Princess are depicted as they board a bus after landing at an air force base in Ontario
WHICH COUNTRIES WERE FASTER THAN THE UK TO EVACUATE THE CITIZEN IN THE CRUISE?
UK: The UK government is currently planning an evacuation flight for around 70 civilians on board. The flight is expected to depart from Tokyo tomorrow (February 22) after a day’s delay.
U.S: Flew 340 of its citizens back split between two flights on 16 and 17 February.
South Korea: Sent one of his president’s jets to Tokyo on Tuesday, February 18 to evacuate five civilians.
Australia: 180 people and six New Zealanders were evacuated from the cruise ship on 20 February.
Hong Kong: Chartered a plane to pick up 106 civilians aboard the Diamond Princess on February 20.
Israel: Commissioned by a private aircraft with 14 seats to bring 12 Israelis home on February 20
Canada: Around 130 Canadians were flown to an army base in Ontario on February 21
Taiwan: 19 Taiwanese board a plane chartered by the government on February 12
Other countries that have announced plans for the UK include Italy.
The Philippines and Indonesia have since announced plans to evacuate their residents.
He said that Wendy only “struggled” with the Diamond Princess and compared his experience in a foreign infectious disease department with “solitary confinement in prison.”
The truck driver revealed today that his wife tested negative and joked that they would go to “Butlins, the Wirral” for 14 days – a reference to being quarantined at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside.
The Diamond Princess has been moored in Yokohama since 3 February and more than 630 passengers on the giant ship have caught the corona virus.
The Diamond Princess transported more than 3,700 people at the beginning of February, when 10 passengers were diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Since they have been quarantined in the port of Yokohama, a total of 634 passengers and crew have been infected – the equivalent of one in six on board.
It means that the ship has registered nearly half of all confirmed coronavirus cases outside of China – where 98 percent of infections are registered.
Passengers who tested negative for the corona virus started aboard the Diamond Princess ship on Wednesday – when the official quarantine ended.
Once passengers have left the ship, they are allowed to travel freely, health officials have said.
The average incubation time for coronavirus is fourteen days – so anyone who shows no symptoms at that time is unlikely to have it.
Despite the increasing evidence from infectious disease experts, they could unknowingly take the virus to their community.
Meanwhile, David and Sally Abel, from Northamptonshire, have documented their time on the quarantined ship on Facebook.
The couple is now being treated in a Japanese hospital after days locked up in their cabin after their diagnosis.
Alan Steele, from Wolverhampton, was on a honeymoon with his wife Wendy, when the corona virus outbreak broke out on the Diamond Princess cruise ship
He said that Wendy ‘struggled’ with the Diamond Princess on her own and accused the Foreign Ministry of ‘forgetting’ them
Mr. Steele joked that they would go to “Butlins, the Wirral” for 14 days – a reference to a 14-day stay at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside
In another post, Mr. Abel said: “We arrived at the beautiful hospital a few hours ago. Taken by ambulance blues & twos the whole trip … Last communication so don’t worry that you don’t hear from us: see you all before you know it ‘
David Abel, one of the British aboard the Diamond Princess who begged the government to save them, posted a photo of himself in a Japanese hostel today while being treated by Facebook doctors today
He posted a photo of his wife, Sally, who was also being treated. Mrs. Abel was also taken off the cruise after she had tested positive
REVEALED: THE TIME LINE OF THE DELAYED BRITISH EVACUATION FLIGHT
The US was the first to tell Japan that it was going to repatriate hundreds of its citizens aboard the cruise ship, and unveiled plans on February 15.
Then the pressure on the foreign ministry started to increase, but only on February 20 did the ministers confirm that a flight would go ahead.
Officials said the British would be evacuated on board on February 21 and taken to Arrowe Park Hospital on Wirral to be quarantined for 14 days.
But the British embassy gave the plans a blow and said that the logistics were complicated and that the flight would leave 24 hours later.
Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel and South Korea have already saved around 800 residents – and more than 1,000 have left the ship.
MailOnline understands that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not know whether all 74 Britons are still on board because it does not keep track of them.
British passengers were expected to leave the Diamond Princess at 2.20 p.m. (11 p.m. local time) before the evacuation flight.
But they did not release on time – the British began to appear an hour and a half later. It is not clear whether this will further delay the flight.
Holidaymakers were told by an email from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the flight would leave Haneda airport in Tokyo at 8.15 am (5.15 am local time).
He described the collapse in a Japanese hospital and being put in a wheelchair after he became one of the 634 people to catch the corona virus on the ship.
In a Facebook post about his corona virus test, Mr. Abel said: “We arrived at the beautiful hospital a few hours ago.
‘Taken by ambulance blues and two the entire trip. Outside the hospital I was a bit strange and almost fainted.
“Every pore in my body opened and I went to our room. Full health inspection and now we know what’s going on. “
Mr. Abel revealed that both he and his wife had a cold and would undergo chest x-rays and urine tests.
But he added: ‘We are both in the best place! They know what they are doing and our two nurses are beautiful. Sally also loves the doctor. “
The couple, who shared a room in the hospital yesterday, have to test negative three times before being released.
Mr Abel added: ‘Wi-Fi is not working for me, so this will be the last announcement for some time. See you before you know. “
In further reports, he revealed that the couple “thought of all the British flying to the UK tomorrow.”
Mr. and Mrs. Abel’s son today told MailOnline that he could not find his parents after being taken to another hospital overnight.
Mrs. Abel called Stephen at 1 AM to say that the couple had been moved to a “more suitable” unit to meet their needs.
Elsewhere, British people in Cambodia who have left another cruise ship, the Westerdam, and who have been cleared for travel, are assisted by the Foreign Ministry to find their way home.
The group receives health advice and is assisted with commercial flight bookings. All were tested negative after one case was found on board.
The number of Britons in the group has not been disclosed and it is unclear whether some have already returned to the UK.
Public Health England (PHE) said airport health teams would meet the flights and talk to passengers from Westerdam about any symptoms.
Passengers wave from a bus carrying Hong Kong passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship affected by corona virus
Workers in protective clothing measure the body temperature of a passenger departing from the Diamond Princess cruise ship
Revealed: The Diamond Princess has 13 decks and is 290m long. It had 3,700 people on board – including 1,000 crew members – when it started the 14-day quarantine
If they have no symptoms, passengers receive health advice and are told to isolate themselves for 14 days at home, but if they have symptoms, they are taken to the hospital for tests.
From 2:00 pm on Friday, a total of 5,885 people in the UK have been tested for corona virus, nine of whom have tested positive.
WHERE DOES THE WUHAN CORONAVIRUS SPREAD?
The NHS has started testing people for coronavirus in their own home in London and will roll it out to other areas in the coming weeks.
There are more than 75,000 confirmed infections registered in mainland China and around 1,070 cases in 26 other countries – including those aboard the Diamond Princess.
Authorities in China recorded 118 deaths on Thursday, bringing the total to 2,236 in the country.
In the World Health Organization (WHO) briefing on Thursday, Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said: “You will be fed up with the opportunity to prevent this Covid-19 outbreak.
“WHO is making every effort to seize that opportunity and we urge the international community to do the same.”
He said the data continues to show a decline in new cases “but this is not time for complacency.”
Meanwhile, experts from Imperial College in London have warned that there are likely to be more cases from outside China, the Telegraph reports.
Using mathematical models, the researchers estimate that two-thirds of Covid-19 cases exported from China spread unnoticed.
Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said the findings were not surprising.
He said, “We are likely to see spreading all over the world, and the final emergence of what will be the fifth common circulating human coronavirus infection.”
It’s because two older Japanese passengers who were taken off the ship earlier this month died after catching the virus, the health ministry confirmed yesterday.
Former passengers and experts have blamed the Diamond Princess for spreading the disease to more than a fifth of the people on board.
Mr Steele described the quarantine process as a “joke” and said that the problem was exacerbated by staff ignoring anti-infection measures.
At least 634 out of 3,700 passengers and crew have tested positive for the virus since the ship was moored in Yokohama Bay.
Mr. Steele said that the Japanese medical staff who came on board to help control the outbreak was the culprit.
He told Sky News this morning: “The quarantine process was a joke. The quarantine people and the crew actually spread it. They have aggravated the problem. “
It is after Kentaro Iwata, professor of infectious diseases at Kobe University of Japan, said the safety measures on board were “completely inadequate.”
Professor Iwata inspected the ship and posted a video on YouTube in which obvious mistakes were made by crew and medical personnel.
He discovered that they were ignoring infection-free zones and virus-attacked areas – meant to be passengers suspected of having separated the virus – and were not wearing protective clothing.
The professor described the situation on the ship as worse than outbreaks he had tackled in the past, such as Ebola in Africa and the 2003 SARS crisis in China.
He said the only time he was afraid of getting the disease himself was when he was on the cruise ship.
Eleven Israeli civilians were flown home on Thursday with a private jet after Israel became the newest nation to launch an evacuation mission for the UK. Four Israelis were left in Japan after being diagnosed with coronavirus
A South Korean presidential plane evacuated six South Korean citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan in quarantine on Wednesday. It arrived at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul
American citizens are being evacuated from the Diamond Princess and transported by shuttle bus in Yokohama to Haneda airport to fly back to the US on a chartered plane on Monday
Australische burgers worden op donderdag ontmoet door soldaten en dokters in gezichtsmaskers op Darwin International Airport in Darwin, Australië, nadat ze zijn geëvacueerd uit het in quarantaine geplaatste schip
ZOON VAN BRITSE PAAR GEÏNFECTEERD MET CORONAVIRUS ZEGT: ‘IK KAN MIJN OUDERS NIET KRIJGEN’
De zoon van een Brits echtpaar besmet met het coronavirus op de Diamond Princess-cruise in Japan heeft vandaag onthuld dat hij zijn ouders niet te pakken kan krijgen.
David en Sally Abel, uit Northamptonshire, ondergingen een reeks medische tests nadat ze van het in quarantaine geplaatste schip naar een ziekenhuis in Yokohama waren gebracht.
Maar Sally riep haar zoon Stephen vanmorgen om 01.00 uur in nood om te zeggen dat het echtpaar naar een ander ziekenhuis was ‘geschikter’ voor hun behoeften.
Nu probeert Stephen verwoed zijn ouders te vinden en overweegt om naar Japan te vliegen om bij hen in de buurt te zijn. Hij zei tegen MailOnline: ‘Ik kan ze niet te pakken krijgen.’
David smeekte de Britse regering om hem te evacueren voordat hij het SARS-CoV-2-virus kreeg en vroeg zelfs miljardair Sir Richard Branson om hulp.
Britse functionarissen hebben eindelijk een repatriëringsvlucht bevestigd voor de tientallen Britten die nog op de gedoemde cruise zitten – vijf dagen nadat de VS 300 inwoners had geëvacueerd.
Maar in een wrede wending van het lot zullen noch de 74-jarige diabetes David of zijn vrouw Sally worden toegelaten op de vlucht – nu uitgesteld tot morgenochtend lokale tijd – omdat ze in het ziekenhuis worden behandeld.
Het virus vormt een aanzienlijke bedreiging voor de Abels omdat ouderen en zieke mensen met een gecompromitteerd immuunsysteem het grootste risico lopen op ernstige complicaties.
De familie Abel is bedroefd door de gezondheid van David en Sally, te midden van de angst dat het paar longontsteking kan hebben – een bekende complicatie van het dodelijke virus.
Professor Iwata plaatste zichzelf in een 14-daagse quarantaine uit angst zijn familie te infecteren na een kort bezoek aan boord van het schip gisteren.
Ondertussen beleeft Benidorm-actrice Crissy Rock de wittebroodsweken nadat ze in quarantaine was geplaatst op een cruise van een maand lang Queen Mary 2 temidden van angonavirus.
De 61-jarige Brit bracht duizenden ponden uit op de luxueuze vakantie om haar 2018-huwelijk met Julian Buck te vieren, maar is niet uit het schip vertrokken nadat het was verboden om in meerdere havens aan te meren.
Een bron dicht bij de scouse-ster vertelde MailOnline dat ze ‘doodsbang’ is en zich ‘ellendig’ voelt nadat de ‘reis van je leven een complete ramp is geworden’.
‘Er is veel paniek aan boord, een passagier viel gisteren flauw en niemand weet echt waar ze zijn of wat er aan de hand is,’ legde een vriend van Crissy uit.
‘Niemand op het schip heeft coronavirus, maar het is passagiers verboden het schip te verlaten met voedsel- en brandstofvoorraden die worden geleverd door kleinere boten.
‘Crissy verheugt zich al meer dan een jaar op deze reis, maar ze heeft alleen water gezien, omdat het schip niet bij verschillende geplande stops kon aanmeren.
‘Veel passagiers hebben op zijn minst andere landen meegemaakt op de wereldtournee, maar Crissy zal het schip helemaal niet verlaten na het instappen in Dubai.’
Crissy and husband Julian, who married in a movie-themed wedding at a Stockport cinema in 2018, boarded the ship in Dubai on January 31.
They were expected to stop at Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Phuket as part of the world cruise they booked to celebrate their honeymoon.
But due to coronavirus fears they are heading straight to Freemantle, Australia, and will not leave the ship until it reaches its destination.
Cruise operator Cunard has confirmed to MailOnline the Queen Mary 2 liner will skip scheduled stops following its pickup in Dubai due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
A spokesman said: ‘We are working around the clock with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England to implement control measures for our ships.
‘Complete disaster’: Benidorm star Crissy Rock is having the honeymoon from hell after being quarantined on a month-long Queen Mary 2 cruise amid coronavirus fears (taken in 2018)
‘Terrified’: Crissy and husband Julian boarded the ship in Dubai on January 31 and won’t be allowed to leave the Queen Mary 2 until it docks in Australia on February 18
TIMELINE OF THE CRUISE SHIP HIT BY THE KILLER CORONAVIRUS
JANUARY 20: The Diamond Princess cruise ship leaves Yokohama for a 14-day round trip in East Asia with 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew
FEBRUARY 1: Health chiefs in Hong Kong confirm a passenger who disembarked the ship on January 25 has the killer coronavirus
FEBRUARY 3: Princess Cruises tells the 13-floored vessel to return back to Yokohama one day early for the safety of guests
FEBRUARY 4: Japanese officials screen a handful of passengers and find 10 have the virus, including two Australians and one American. The quarantine begins
FEBRUARY 6: The ship arranges eight new TV channels, as well as room service and free internet for the 3,700 in quarantine. 31 more people test positive
FEBRUARY 9: The Diamond Princess announces it will refund guests for the cruise, flights, hotels and transport – and gives them credit equal to what they paid
Sixty-six more cases are confirmed on board the ship, including Alan Steele from Wolverhampton, eleven Americans and four Australians
FEBRUARY 11: The Japanese Ministry of Health announces 39 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 on the Diamond Princess
FEBRUARY 12: Princess Cruises announces the old and the sick can leave and finish quarantine on the mainland. Forty-four new cases are confirmed
FEBRUARY 14: British couple David and Sally Abel beg billionaire Sir Richard Branson to help repatriate the 74 Brits trapped on the cruise
FEBRUARY 15: The US tells Japan it is going to repatriate hundreds of its citizens on board the cruise ship the next day
FEBRUARY 16: 340 Americans are flown to military bases in California and Texas on two cargo planes from Tokyo. 14 test positive after disembarking the ship
Sixty-seven new cases are recorded, including five more Australians and Americans. Twelve guests have already voluntarily disembarked – 55 chose to stay
Sir Richard reveals his airline Virgin Atlantic is ‘in discussions’ with UK officials over whether it could help the stranded Brits
FEBRUARY 17: Canada announces it will arrange a chartered aircraft to rescue the Canadian residents quarantined on board the ship
FEBRUARY 18: Officials announce 169 new cases of SARS-CoV2, including three more Brits, as pressure ramps up on the UK to organise an evacuation mission
More cases have now been recorded on the cruise ship (542) than the rest of the world combined – excluding China
Mr and Mrs Abel test positive for the virus and are taken to hospital on the mainland. Their son Steve slams the British government for its handling of the situation
FEBRUARY 19: Princess Cruises confirms Australia, Hong Kong and Canada will fly residents on the Diamond Princess back
Japanese authorities allow 443 passengers to disembark the ship – those not taking government repatriation flights
The UK Foreign Office announces it hopes to organise a flight ‘later this week’ – but admits there’s a chance Brits who disembark won’t be allowed on an airlift
FEBRUARY 20: Two former passengers on the Diamond Princess die. The pair are a man and a woman in their 80s and are the first deaths recorded on the ship
The Foreign Office confirms the Brits still on board will be evacuated on February 21, and will then be taken to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral to be quarantined for 14 days.
Japanese authorities allow 275 passengers to disembark the ship
Australia flies home more than 180 citizens, Canada charters a jet for 200 residents, while Israel uses a private plane to take 11 citizens home
FEBRUARY 21: The British embassy in Tokyo reveals the flight has been delayed by one day and won’t leave until February 22, announcing it was logistically complicated
More than 450 passengers disembark the ship
Indonesia and the Philippines announce plans to evacuate residents still stuck on board
‘Due to this, we’ve had to make changes (though we appreciate this is disappointing, but unfortunately vital) to the itinerary.’
The ship has been to all other stops on the tour including Portugal, Italy, Israel and Dubai, where Crissy boarded.
Crissy’s journey will come to an end in Australia with her stopping at no ports and therefore remaining quarantined until the ship docks at Fremantal on February 18.
A spokesman for Crissy said: ‘We can confirm Crissy Rock is on the Queen Mary 2.
‘Crissy boarded the ship in Dubai towards on January 31 and has been on the vessel since.
‘The ship has been unable to dock due to locations on the schedule being hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
‘Crissy is on the ship with her husband to celebrate their honeymoon – they booked the trip months ago.
‘We hope everyone on board returns safely including Crissy who’s been really worried.’
The actress, who stripped off for ITV’s The Real Full Monty alongside Megan Barton-Hanson and Danielle Armstrong last year, is hoping to return to the UK before February 21 for filming commitments.
BEING COOPED UP WITH OTHER PEOPLE CREATES ‘BOILING POT OF TRANSMISSION’
Infections are ‘notorious’ for spreading easily on cruise ships because the boats have large numbers of people cooped up in a relatively small space and using the same facilities for days or weeks on end.
This raises the risk of getting close to someone who is already infected with a virus, whereas on land someone may only pass them in the street.
Past research has found that holidaymakers on-board cruise ships are less likely to maintain good hand hygiene or isolate themselves in their rooms if they become ill.
A global health lawyer in Geneva, Dr Roojin Habibi, said shutting all the passengers in together had created a ‘boiling pot of transmission’ for the virus, The Guardian gerapporteerd.
This is particularly problematic when it comes to viruses like the coronavirus which infect the lungs and spread on someone’s breath or by coughing and sneezing.
Dr Jimmy Whitworth, a disease expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told MailOnline: ‘Obviously keeping all the people in one place increases the risk for them.
‘Cruise ships are crowded and people are very close to each other. This is a respiratory virus so it’s going to be spreading by droplet spread [breathing/coughing], close contact and contaminated surfaces about the place.
‘This virus is highly transmissible and is tough to control in this circumstance. It was worth a go [the ship quarantine] but it’s simply not worked.’
Writing in a scientific paper titled ‘Infections on Cruise Ships‘, disease expert Dr Vivek Kak, from Jackson, Michigan, said: ‘The isolated environment of a cruise ship, with close interaction between a vast [group] of individuals, increases the risk of a passenger being exposed to various respiratory secretions and, potentially, to infectious respiratory viruses.
‘The presentation of these infections… can range from an upper respiratory tract infection to life-threatening pneumonia.’
Sharing the ship with so many others also makes it more likely someone will touch a surface which has been contaminated by someone who is ill.
The COVID-19 coronavirus is known to be able to survive on hard surfaces for hours – some estimates suggest days – before it stops being contagious.
Handrails, sunbeds or gym equipment, for example, may be a haven for the viruses to live on, and people may catch the infection from contaminated surfaces in places like swimming pools or hot tubs.
VIRUSES SPREAD FASTER AMONG ELDERLY PEOPLE AND THOSE BRINGING STRAINS FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
Dr Kak also suggested in his paper, which was published in the journal Microbiology Spectrum by the American Society for Microbiology, that the types of people who take cruises may contribute to the spread of illness.
He added: ‘The typical cruise passenger is often an elderly individual and may have chronic illnesses, which can make him or her more susceptible to infection and its complications.’
The immune system naturally gets worse with age, meaning people are less likely to fight off illness so they get sick quicker and stay sick for longer.
There are also people from all over the world who join together on cruises, meaning that seasonal viruses and different strains of illnesses are all mashed together in one place.
Dr Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said: ‘Cruise ships take passengers and crew from all over the world, often passengers are relatively elderly, they spend most of their time on board indoors mixing with others.’
Dr Kak, from Michigan, added: ‘The individuals are often from different cultures, with different immunization backgrounds and health statuses.’
CONTAMINATED CROCKERY, VENTILATION AND SEWAGE COULD ALL SPREAD THE VIRUS
Cruise ship passengers have to drink from the same water supplies and eat food from the same kitchens, meaning that if a virus or bacteria gets into these the consequences could be devastating.
However, the coronavirus is a respiratory infection – meaning it takes hold in the lungs – so this is not considered to be a major contributor to spread on the Diamond Princess.
Dr Whitworth said: ‘[This is not a worry] for a respiratory virus.
‘It’s classic for gastrointestinal infections such norovirus but I don’t think that would be affecting this situation.’
Diarrhoea and vomiting bugs such as noroviruses and salmonella could spread through food or water but the coronavirus is only known to infect people when it is inhaled.
There remains, however, the possibility that the virus could spread on contaminated crockery or cutlery if it is not cleaned thoroughly with soap and hot water.
Experts have also questioned whether the ventilation or sewage systems could have been implicated in spreading the airborne disease.
One said the virus could be spreading by other means which are not known, and argued the quarantine should have worked but it wasn’t well managed.
‘Obviously the quarantine hasn’t worked, and this ship has now become a source of infection,” said Dr Nathalie MacDermott, an expert at King’s College London.
‘We need to understand how the quarantine measures on board were implemented, what the air filtration on board is like, how the cabins are connected and how waste products are disposed of.’
‘There could also be another mode of transmission we’re not familiar with,’ she said, noting the possibility of environmental spread and the importance of ‘deep-cleaning’ the entire ship to prevent people from touching contaminated surfaces.
During the 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS, a related virus, experts discovered that more than 300 people were infected through a defective sewage system in a Hong Kong housing estate.
Dr MacDermott said it was possible there was a similar issue aboard the Diamond Princess, but that a full investigation was needed. There’s no reason this should not have worked if it had been done properly,’ she said.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE DEADLY CORONAVIRUS IN CHINA?
Someone who is infected with the coronavirus can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze, scientists say.
Over 2,000 people with the virus are now confirmed to have died and more than 75,000 have been infected. But experts predict the true number of people with the disease could be as high as 350,000 in Wuhan alone, as they warn it may kill as many as two in 100 cases. Here’s what we know so far:
Wat is het coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.
The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.
Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.
De ziekte die het virus veroorzaakt, is COVID-19 genoemd, wat staat voor coronavirusziekte 2019. Het virus zelf wordt SARS-CoV-2 genoemd.
Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals.
‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Vier hiervan veroorzaken een milde, veel voorkomende verkoudheid, maar sinds 2002 zijn er twee nieuwe coronavirussen ontstaan die mensen kunnen infecteren en kunnen leiden tot ernstigere ziekten (Ernstig acuut respiratoir syndroom (SARS) en Midden-Oosten respiratoir syndroom (MERS) coronavirussen).
‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’
The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where around 11 million people live, after physicians first publicly reported infections on December 31.
By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests werden ontwikkeld voor het nieuwe virus en geregistreerde gevallen begonnen te stijgen.
The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. De volgende dag voorspelden wetenschappers dat 1.700 mensen besmet waren geraakt, mogelijk tot 7.000.
Just a week after that, there had been more than 800 confirmed cases and those same scientists estimated that some 4,000 – possibly 9,700 – were infected in Wuhan alone. By that point, 26 people had died.
By January 27, more than 2,800 people were confirmed to have been infected, 81 had died, and estimates of the total number of cases ranged from 100,000 to 350,000 in Wuhan alone.
By January 29, the number of deaths had risen to 132 and cases were in excess of 6,000.
By February 5, there were more than 24,000 cases and 492 deaths.
By February 11, this had risen to more than 43,000 cases and 1,000 deaths.
A change in the way cases are confirmed on February 13 – doctors decided to start using lung scans as a formal diagnosis, as well as laboratory tests – caused a spike in the number of cases, to more than 60,000 and to 1,369 deaths.
Where does the virus come from?
According to scientists, the virus has almost certainly come from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.
The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in the city, which has since been closed down for investigation.
Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.
A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent similar to a coronavirus they found in bats.
However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.
Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: ‘The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.
‘We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.’
So far the fatalities are quite low. Waarom maken gezondheidsexperts zich er zo druk over?
Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.
It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs.
Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. Dit betekent dat het mogelijk meer schade kan aanrichten dan virussen die we vaak tegenkomen, zoals griep of verkoudheid.
Dr. Peter Horby, professor aan de universiteit van Oxford, sprak tijdens een briefing in januari: ‘Nieuwe virussen kunnen zich veel sneller door de populatie verspreiden dan virussen die de hele tijd circuleren omdat we geen immuniteit voor hen hebben.
‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we are talking about a virus for which we do not fully understand the severity spectrum, but it is possible that the mortality rate can go up to two percent. “
If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die.
‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.
‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’
Hoe verspreidt het virus zich?
The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it can also spread before someone has symptoms.
It is believed that it travels in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing and parts of cutlery or utensils are all risky.
Oorspronkelijk werd gedacht dat mensen het zouden vangen van een markt voor levende dieren in de stad Wuhan. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person.
Er is nu bewijs dat het de derde hand kan verspreiden – naar iemand van een persoon die het van een andere persoon heeft gevangen.
What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?
Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.
Als en wanneer ze ziek worden, zijn typische symptomen een loopneus, een hoest, keelpijn en koorts (hoge temperatuur). The vast majority of patients – at least 97 per cent, based on available data – will recover from these without any issues or medical help.
Bij een kleine groep patiënten, die vooral ouderen lijken te zijn of mensen met langdurige ziekten, kan dit leiden tot longontsteking. Pneumonia is an infection in which the inside of the lungs swells and fills with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.
What have genetic tests revealed about the virus?
Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world.
This allows others to study them, develop tests and possibly look into the treatment of the disease they cause.
Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.
However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.
This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.
More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.
How dangerous is the virus?
The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.
However, experts say the true number of patients is likely considerably higher and therefore the death rate considerably lower. Onderzoekers van het Imperial College London schatten dat er tot 18 januari alleen al in Wuhan 4.000 gevallen waren (tot 9.700) – officieel waren er tot die datum slechts 444. Als gevallen in feite 100 keer vaker voorkomen dan de officiële cijfers, kan het virus veel minder gevaarlijk zijn dan nu wordt gedacht, maar ook veel meer verspreid.
Experts say it is likely only the most seriously ill patients are seeking help and are therefore recorded – the vast majority will have only mild, cold-like symptoms. For those whose conditions do become more severe, there is a risk of developing pneumonia which can destroy the lungs and kill you.
Can the virus be cured?
The COVID-19 virus cannot currently be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.
No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.
De National Institutes of Health in de VS en Baylor University in Waco, Texas, zeggen dat ze werken aan een vaccin op basis van wat ze weten over coronavirussen in het algemeen, met behulp van informatie van de SARS-uitbraak. Maar dit kan een jaar of langer duren om zich te ontwikkelen, volgens Pharmaceutical Technology.
Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.
People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.
En luchthavens over de hele wereld voeren screeningmaatregelen in, zoals artsen ter plaatse hebben, de temperatuur van mensen meten om koorts te controleren en thermische screening gebruiken om diegenen te detecteren die ziek kunnen zijn (infectie veroorzaakt een verhoogde temperatuur).
Het kan echter weken duren voordat de symptomen verschijnen, dus er is slechts een kleine kans dat patiënten op een luchthaven worden opgemerkt.
Is deze uitbraak een epidemie of een pandemie?
The outbreak is an epidemic, which is when a disease takes hold of one community such as a country or region.
Although it has spread to dozens of countries, the outbreak is not yet classed as a pandemic, which is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’.
The head of WHO’s global infectious hazard preparedness, Dr Sylvie Briand, said: ‘Currently we are not in a pandemic. We are at the phase where it is an epidemic with multiple foci, and we try to extinguish the transmission in each of these foci,’ the Guardian reported.
Ze zei dat de meeste gevallen buiten Hubei vanuit het epicentrum waren ‘overstroomd’, dus de ziekte verspreidde zich niet echt actief over de hele wereld.