A plane carrying British people who were trapped on coronavirus-hit cruise ship in Japan for more than two weeks is now on its way to Wiltshire.

“The evacuation flight from Japan has now departed with 32 British and European passengers on board, as well as British government and medical staff,” the Foreign Office said in a statement today.

The plane is expected to land at Boscombe Down military base in Wiltshire it said. Passengers would then be placed in a further 14-day quarantine.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined off Tokyo on 5 February when a passenger who left in Hong Kong was found infected with the virus.

The repatriation flight came after earlier being delayed. More than 70 British nationals onboard, who had been confined to cabins except for brief trips on deck wearing masks and gloves, had been due to fly home on Friday.

The Diamond Princess was carrying more than 3,700 people in early February when 10 passengers were diagnosed with the Covid-19 strain of the disease.

The four Britons onboard the Diamond Princess who have tested positive will not be on the flight.

David and Sally Abel from Northamptonshire have been documenting their time on the quarantined ship on Facebook. The couple are now being treated in a Japanese hospital after days shut in their cabin following their diagnosis.