instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

British couple on cruise ship ‘test positive for Covid-19’

‘We smell a rat’: Sally and David Abel believe they are victims of a ‘set-up’ PICTURE: PA

A BRITISH couple trapped on board a coronavirus-hit cruise ship claim they are victims of a ‘set-up’ after being told they have tested positive for Covid-19.

David and Sally Abel have posted regular updates on Facebook and YouTube pleading with the government to fly them home along with 72 other Britons on the Diamond Princess, which is quarantined in Japanese port Yokohama.

Passengers and crew who have been diagnosed with the virus are being taken off the ship for treatment at hospitals.

Angry: Steve Abel on BBC Breakfast

Yesterday morning, Mr Abel wrote: ‘We have been proved positive and leaving for hospital soon. Blessings all xxx.’

But then in a follow-up post, he said: ‘Frankly i think this is a setup! We are NOT being taken to a hospital but a hostel. That’s where partners are sent waiting out there (sic) quarantine.

‘No phone, no wi-fi and no medical facilities. I really am smelling a very big rat here! Waiting for the transfer now. xx’

On BBC Breakfast, the couple’s son Steve Abel described the UK government’s treatment of his parents as ‘appalling’. He said: ‘My mum breaks down in tears frequently, my dad is short-tempered. They are not getting any communication, so they are feeling very unloved.’

He said he could hear his father being sick when he spoke to his mother on the phone but believed it might be due to ‘shock’ rather than the virus.

Reports from Japan said 542 people had been infected with Covid-19 on the ship. Four of them — not including the Abels, from Oxfordshire — are British.

The Foreign Office said it was organising a flight back to the UK for British nationals ‘as soon as possible’.