Coronavirus UK LIVE: Brits told they may NOT be able to board evacuation flight after disembarking quarantined ship
BRITONS disembarking a coronavirus cruise ship in Japan have been warned they may not be allowed to join the evacuation flight.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said 'there is a chance' British passengers leaving the Diamond Princess will not fly.
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CORONAVIRUS DEATHS EXCEED 2,000
The total number of deaths caused by the coronavirus worldwide has now exceeded 2,000.
All but six of the deaths have occurred in mainland China, where the outbreak first began in mid-December.
The country's Health Commission has confirmed that 136 people have died since Monday, bringing the toll within China to 2,004.
The news comes as the total number of people infected globally reaches 75,000, more than 1,000 of them outside mainland China.
The World Health Organisation has labelled the spread of the virus a global public health emergency.
Among the countries worst hit besides China are Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea, where at least 81, 68, 63, and 51 cases have been confirmed respectively.
BRITS WARNED AGAINST LEAVING DIAMOND PRINCESS AHEAD OF EVACUATION
Brits currently quarantined on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have been told they may not be allowed to join an evacuation flight to the UK this week if they leave the ship.
Around 500 passengers who have tested negative for Covid-19 are being permitted to disembark today after spending 14 days isolated on the ship.
Some 3,700 passengers and crew were on board the boat when an outbreak of the virus was confirmed, of whom 542 subsequently tested positive.
Following evacuations of citizens by other foreign governments, the UK is set to stage a flight to extract stranded Brits, but has warned those hoping to join the flight not to leave the boat with other passengers.
A statement issued by the Foreign Office overnight read: “We are planning an evacuation flight from Tokyo to the UK as soon as possible for Britons who are on the Diamond Princess.
“We hope the flight will be later this week, subject to permissions from the Japanese authorities.
“There is a chance that people who disembark will not be able to join the evacuation flight.
“We have the utmost concern for the affected Britons and strongly encourage them to register for the evacuation flight.”
Japanese authorities have said that only passengers known not to have the virus or to have been in close contact with a confirmed case will be permitted to leave the ship.
The decision of when members of the crew who have not been diagnosed with the virus will be allowed to disembark has been left to the ship's operators.
A total of six Brits on board the ship are reported to have tested positive.
Among them are David and Sally Abel, who have live-streamed much of their time in quarantine in their cabin on Facebook.
The weekend saw over 300 American citizens extracted and taken to a fresh quarantine back in the US.
The Diamond Princess was quarantined in early Ferbruary in Japan's Port of Yokohama after an initial 10 cases of the virus were confirmed on board.
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