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Coronavirus test negative for Briton removed from quarantined cruise ship

Alan Steele, who was moved to a Japanese hospital, said he may soon be released from quarantine.

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The Diamond Princess has been quarantined in Yokohama, Japan (Jae C Hong/AP)

The Diamond Princess has been quarantined in Yokohama, Japan (Jae C Hong/AP)

The Diamond Princess has been quarantined in Yokohama, Japan (Jae C Hong/AP)

A British honeymooner diagnosed with coronavirus says he has now tested negative for the disease – after being removed from a quarantined cruise ship where there are now 169 confirmed cases.

Alan Steele, from Wolverhampton, was moved to hospital last Friday from the Diamond Princess cruise ship stationed off the coast of Japan after being diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus.

But on Wednesday he said he hopes to soon be released from quarantine if a second test for the virus also proves negative.

“Just received great news… my test showed negative to virus and have now been swabbed for 2nd test if that comes back negative I get released,” Mr Steele posted on Facebook.

There have been 169 confirmed cases of the coronavirus strain, now officially named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation, among the Diamond Princess’ 3,711 passengers and crew.

Mr Steele’s wife, Wendy Marshall Steele, is still on board.

Mr Steele’s announcement comes after Steve Walsh, the businessman at the centre of a UK outbreak of coronavirus, thanked the NHS for his treatment and said he is “fully recovered”.

Mr Walsh, 53, from Hove in East Sussex, is still in quarantine at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. He picked up Covid-19 while at a conference in Singapore and through him several other cases in France, Spain and the UK were diagnosed.

Coronavirus: how virus spread via businessman
(PA Graphics)

British couple David and Sally Abel told Sky News on Wednesday that life on the cruise ship, quarantined by the port of Yokohama, is becoming more challenging.

The couple, who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, said passengers had been kept awake one night due to a woman crying in her cabin.

Mrs Abel added: “They are looking after us very well but obviously we are confined to our cabin and it’s getting harder.

“We are now into the second week, it seems an eternity to go.”

Mr Abel said: “It is more challenging, as each day progresses we are having additional people testing positive.

“Passengers are now getting tested, that’s why we are seeing the results now on a daily basis, so it is getting people’s moods down.

“One of the passengers in the night was keeping other passengers awake, an old lady who was crying for a couple of hours in her cabin.

“Life isn’t as easy as it was last week – it’s a bit more challenging.”

But the couple said that if they test negative for the virus, they could be taken off the ship within days.

Mr Abel added: “We still have not been updated on February 19 – that’s the disembarkation date.

Covid-19: confirmed cases
(PA Graphics)

“But it’s being brought forward, we understand, for people who have not got the symptoms, who have gone through the testing with all the doctors who are on board, and we are seeing people leave the ship – it has been happening all day long.

“I think we will have a quicker disembarkation, if we are cleared the correct medical way it could be brought forward as soon as another couple of days.”

But Mrs Abel said the couple fear being separated if one of them tests positive.

She added: “What we are frightened of is if one of us is positive and the other negative and we are split up.

“That’s what we don’t want to happen, but if it does it does – what can we do?”

PA