'I didn't think he was coming home': British cruise couple tell of virus ordeal

A British couple who have been diagnosed with coronavirus after spending two weeks in quarantine on board the Princess Diamond have spoken exclusively to ITV of how they feared for their lives.

David and Sally Abel, from Northamptonshire, were quarantined while onboard the cruise ship last month before being transferred to a hospital in Japan after contracting pneumonia.

Speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain, Sally said: "I didn’t think he was coming home. He was extremely bad."

"They diagnosed him with acute pneumonia, obviously a side effect of the virus, and basically he was giving up. I sat up most of the night watching him breathing because I didn’t think he was coming back," she added.

David had described how they had "an amazing cruise" before the ship went into quarantine over the coronavirus outbreak.

He told ITV Presenters Piers Morgan and Ranvir Singh: "It was fantastic until we realised the virus was creeping in.

"The moment the ship went into quarantine that’s when everything changed. I never realised, I don’t think either of us knew, we had the virus, that we had contracted it."

David Abel receiving treatment in a hospital in Japan. Credit: PA

David said it was "a mighty shock" to discover they had both tested positive for Covid-19.

He added: "It was another three days that they took us off the ship and took us to hospital."

"In those three days, I didn’t realise it at the time, but my health did go down rapidly," he said.

The couple had also contracted pneumonia after testing positive for Covid-19. Credit: PA

When asked if it was a relief to make it through the ordeal, David said: "It really is."

He also said the Foreign Office have "behaved amazingly good" with our family, before adding that the "British embassy in Tokyo were absolutely fantastic".

When asked whether it was tough not being able to see their grandchildren since arriving back in the UK, Sally said: "They are aged between 12 and 21, we can talk to them on FaceTime."

Diamond Princess cruise ship which was anchored at the Yokohama Port. Credit: PA

Since the couple's ordeal on the cruise ship, the government has urged elderly and vulnerable people against travelling on a cruise ship.

It comes as several travel and border restrictions have come into place across the world.

Police will soon be given powers to arrest and isolate people to protect public health, under emergency coronavirus legislation set out by the Government.

The Emergency Coronavirus Bill - to be tabled in Parliament on Thursday - will give ministers the powers they say they need to respond to the threat of the virus and support the NHS.

David added: "I think the measures the government are finally taking, if people take notice and abide by them and we all take responsibility for our own health and our own hygiene, I think this could be over as quickly as it arrived."

"That might be very naïve of me to say that but asa country, if we pull together it will disappear more quickly than we ever imagined."

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know