Britons on coronavirus-hit cruise ship bused to Arrowe Park

Britons evacuated from a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship are preparing to spend more time in quarantine on the Wirral after landing back in the UK.

The passengers, who were trapped on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan for more than two weeks, will be isolated for a further 14 days at a facility on Merseyside.

A repatriation flight carrying 32 British and European evacuees from the vessel touched down at Ministry of Defence base Boscombe Down in Wiltshire shortly after 11.30am on Saturday.

Masked passengers are being bussed to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral for 14 days of quarantine to protect against the spread of the illness should any of them be infected.

The group, who tested negative to having Covid-19 before they flew, are expected to arrive at the hospital later on Saturday afternoon.

As with the previous coachloads brought to Arrowe Park, the bus drivers did not appear to be wearing any protective clothing as the convoy, escorted by police and ambulance vehicles, was pictured leaving the MoD base.

It is unclear where the small number of EU citizens will be taken following the arrival of the plane, which also carried British government and medical staff, in the UK.

In a statement issued after the flight landed, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "We have brought 32 British and European citizens safely home from Japan.

"The FCO worked hard to get them back to the UK securely.

"Our number one priority has consistently been the health and safety of UK nationals."

The four Britons on board the Diamond Princess who have recently tested positive for coronavirus were not on the flight.

Arrowe Park was previously used to host 83 British nationals for a 14-day quarantine period earlier in February after they were flown out of Wuhan in China, which has been at the centre of the outbreak.