Passengers on Ipswich-based cruise liner to fly home after coronavirus cases onboard

PUBLISHED: 15:12 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:12 16 March 2020

Passengers on board the Braemar are to be flown back to the UK from Cuba after five tested positive for coronavirus last week. Picture: FRED. OLSEN CRUISE LINES

Passengers on board the Braemar are to be flown back to the UK from Cuba after five tested positive for coronavirus last week. Picture: FRED. OLSEN CRUISE LINES

© Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Passengers onboard the Braemar in the Carribean are to be flown home from Cuba – after five people tested positive for coronavirus.

The Ipswich-based cruise liner was not allowed to dock in Barbados after passengers tested positive for the disease in Curacao last week.

Instead it went to the Bahamas where it took onboard supplies and extra medical staff yesterday.

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Now the ship is headed for Cuba, from where the passengers will fly back to the UK. In total, 667 Britons are onboard the ship.

Currently there are 22 passengers and 21 crew in isolation after displaying flu-like symptoms.

A statement on the company’s website says: “The captain of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ship Braemar has announced on board that he is setting sail to Cuba, where all guests will be repatriated back to the UK by air.

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“Captain Jozo Glavic picked up the anchor at 9am local time (1pm UK time) to begin the passage to Cuba.

“We are working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to confirm details about onward travel arrangements.

“We would ask you to bear with us while we make these arrangements, and will confirm further details as soon as we have them.

“We are working closely with Public Health England to clarify any necessary requirements for guests once they return to the UK.”

Over the weekend the cruise line announced that no new cruises would depart until May 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesman for the FCO said: “We are working around the clock to arrange evacuation flights from Cuba to the UK as soon as possible for passengers on the Braemar cruise ship.
“The evacuation is being co-ordinated with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and we advise that all passengers follow their instructions.
“We continue to update British passengers as the plans progress.”
The FCO will support UK citizens who remain in Cuba for medical reasons but strongly advises British nationals to return home via the flights.

Fred. Olsen has set up a relative support team for those who have family onboard.

It is available on +441473 292350 between 8am and 8pm.

Find all of our coronavirus coverage HERE.

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