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Passengers from coronavirus-hit cruise flying back to UK from Japan

A repatriation flight carrying 32 British and European evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship is due to arrive in the UK on Saturday morning after departing from Japan late on Friday.

The Foreign Office said the evacuation flight also had British government and medical staff on board.

The plane is due to land at Boscombe Down Ministry of Defence base, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, with passengers to then be taken to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral for 14 days of quarantine.

It is unclear where the small number of EU citizens will be taken once the plane lands in the UK.

The evacuees have spent more than two weeks trapped on the coronavirus-stricken ship off the coast of Japan.

Before the flight, one passenger who was diagnosed with Covid-19 and has since been given the all-clear, joked that the experience would be like visiting a holiday camp.

Honeymooner Alan Steele was taken to a Japanese hospital and has since tested negative for the virus and been reunited with wife Wendy.

“Wendy’s test was negative so Butlins the Wirral here we come for 14 days,” Mr Steele posted on Facebook.