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Blow for Covid-19 couple hoping to return home from Japan

The couple need three negative test results before they can leave the hospital.


David Abel and his wife Sally are set to take to the seas again in August (David Abel/PA)

David Abel and his wife Sally are set to take to the seas again in August (David Abel/PA)

David Abel and his wife Sally are set to take to the seas again in August (David Abel/PA)

A British couple, diagnosed with coronavirus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, remain unable to return to the UK after their latest test came back positive.

David and Sally Abel were taken from the cruise liner after spending almost two weeks in quarantine in their cabin on board.

They have been recovering in a Japanese hospital after they were diagnosed with both the virus and pneumonia.

The couple were onboard the Diamond Princess when it was placed into a two-week quarantine (David Abel/PA)

In order to leave the hospital, both need three negative test results. Both had been tested twice previously — and the result had been negative — but during the most recent and final test Mr Abel’s response came back positive.

Mr Abel, who has been filming a YouTube video diary of his experiences, said: “Sally is now negative but is staying in Japan. Sally is now totally all clear, good to return to the UK. But she won’t because I have had a positive. This is what happens.

“I have now got to go back to square one.

“I have another test on Monday. That is more than likely going to be negative.”

He said Sally is no longer in the care of the Japanese health authority.

He added: “They have agreed to allow her to remain here so we can be company for one another. She won’t get reinfected because we have got the same strain. Her immune system is now really well established. So it’s the waiting game.

“The doctor, I think he was surprised. I think everyone else was expecting a negative.”

However, Mrs Abel is unable to leave the hospital: “The moment she leaves the hospital that’s it, she can’t come back in.”

The experience has not put the couple off cruising and they are set to take to seas again in August.

Japan China Outbreak
The Diamond Princess cruise ship is anchored at a port in Yokohama (Kyodo News via AP)

Mr Abel said: “End of April we hope to be in Vancouver and going on the Rocky Mountaineer (train). We hope to be taking a cruise, the Diamond Dave and Princess Sally cruise, in August. If it is safe we will be doing it.”

He said he does not believe the quarantine was to blame for them contracting the virus, but believe instead they picked it up in Taiwan.

A second cruise ship, the Grand Princess, is currently being held off the coast of California after 19 crew members were diagnosed with the virus.

Mr Abel said: “I cannot give advice to those passengers other than to listen to the health authority.”