A British passenger being held on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan today issued an urgent appeal for rescue, saying conditions on board are growing "desperate".
David Abel, 74, whose social media videos alongside wife Sally have until now presented an upbeat appraisal of life on board the Diamond Princess, said passengers were "in a bad way" as it entered its tenth day on lockdown over coronavirus fears.
In an emotional Facebook video filmed from his cabin he appealed for Richard Branson to send a plane to rescue around 80 British passengers still on board.
Addressing the Virgin boss directly, he said: "If you and your family were in this situation what would you do?" © Provided by Evening Standard(David Abel/Facebook)
He added: "What would it cost to hire one of your smaller planes, put all the Brits on board, no flight attendants, just packaged food.
"All passengers will have to agree to wear facemasks for the journey, take us straight to Brize Norton."
Pictures: Coronavirus outbreak
The ship's quarantine is due to end on February 19 but the captain has announced that some passengers, include those over the age of 80, can leave to continue quarantine on the mainland.
It comes as concern were growing for British honeymooner Alan Steele who had been expected to leave quarantine at a hospital on the Japanese mainland.
Mr Steele was removed from the vessel after a positive test last week and left his wife Wendy behind. © Provided by Evening StandardPassengers look out from their balconies on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (AFP via Getty Images)
But fluctuating test results have reportedly left doctors "baffled" and put his release in doubt.
Mr Abel added: "He is really on a downer. He wants to get home and have it sorted in the UK." © Provided by Evening StandardQuarantine Officials on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (PA)
Meanwhile, more than 2,200 passengers and crew who been stranded at sea aboard the another cruise ship, the Westerdam, were today granted permission to dock in Cambodia.
The ship, which has 127 British citizens on board, had been turned away from ports in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Guam and the Philippines over fears one of its 1,455 passengers and 802 crew might have the virus, even though none had tested positive.
They greeted by Prime Minister Hun Sen with handshakes and bouquets of roses.
Bev Thurbin, 55, a legal assistant from Essex, who on the ship with her husband Mick, 57, praised the crew. © Provided by Evening StandardPassengers are seen on balconies of the Diamond Princess cruise ship (AFP via Getty Images)
She said: "We've been fine on the ship, you get the odd people who got stressed about it.
"But everyone has been in good spirits and this has been helped by the most wonderful staff and crew, they just kept us all positive and happy."
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