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Four of the British and Irish evacuees who landed back in Britain from Japan yesterday have tested positive for COVID-19, taking the UK total to 13.
The virus was transmitted when they were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
They are being transferred from Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral to specialist NHS infection centres, England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty said.
They were due to be quarantined for two weeks, having already spent 14 days in isolation on the ship. Almost a fifth of the 3,711 passengers originally on board the liner have been infected.
A “full infectious disease risk assessment” was carried out before the repatriation flight, and no one that boarded had displayed any symptoms, the Department of Health said.
“Appropriate arrangements” are in place at Arrowe Park, it added, including strict separation of passengers from staff and from each other.
Thirty Britons and two Irish citizens landed at Boscombe Down Ministry of Defence base near Salisbury, Wiltshire, before being taken to hospital by coach on Saturday.
Three coaches carried passengers wearing masks and medical professionals in white hazmat suits.
Meanwhile, there has been a third fatality from the COVID-19 outbreak on the Diamond Princess.
Japan’s health ministry said a passenger who was taken to hospital after testing positive had died.
The Japanese man in his eighties was among the first group of people to develop symptoms when a 14-day quarantine was ordered on the ship on 5 February, health ministry official Masami Sakoi said.
A total of four people have died from the virus in Japan – all of them in their 80s.
In Italy, about a dozen towns are in lockdown as the country races to contain the biggest outbreak of coronavirus in Europe following a surge in cases.
The number has risen sharply to more than 130, and two people have died in the last 48 hours.
In another development, more than 100 people flown back to the UK from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in China have been released from quarantine.
The group – including 10 children and a family of four – spent two weeks at a conference centre in Milton Keynes after being brought back to Britain on a repatriation flight from the city of Wuhan.
Courtesy of Sky News