More than 600 Brits stranded on Caribbean cruise ship amid coronavirus outbreak

More than 600 British tourists are stranded on a cruise liner which was denied entry to the Bahamas after a coronavirus outbreak.

The Braemar has been unable to dock after five of its passengers tested positive for COVID-19.

The ship's 682 passengers, many of whom are elderly, and 381 crew are now anchored 25 miles off coast of the Caribbean island.

The Foreign Office says it is working 'urgently' to get Brits home, and is negotiating with other countries in the region in the hope they will be allowed to disembark.

But if unsuccessful, the British ship, which is operated by Fred Olsen, could be forced to make a nightmare 10-day journey across the Atlantic back to the UK, the Mail on Sunday reports.

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One of the holidaymakers on board is Steve Dale, 68, from Stansted, Essex and his wife Lynda, 62.

He says that although most passengers are showing a 'stiff upper lip', communication with families back home is becoming more difficult.

"We are worried about what is happening and when we are going to get home," he said.

"It is getting more and more difficult to keep in touch with families because for some reason they have limited the wi-fi. The captain said yesterday, 'If necessary I will sail to Southampton'."

Essential supplies including food, fuel and medical items are being delivered by helicopter.

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Helen Littlewood, 39, from Norfolk, says she is 'terrified' for her mother, who is also a passenger and is 74, and suffers from high blood pressure , respiratory problems, bronchitis and asthma.

She said: "I am absolutely terrified that they might have to sail across the Atlantic. No one has told us medically how they would cope if more people get sick. What happens if the doctor gets sick? What happens if the captain gets sick?"

An 85-year-old British woman was the ship's first passenger to be diagnosed with coronavirus last Sunday, when the Braemar docked in Cartagena, Colombia.

She was allowed to disembark but when the liner next docked in Willemsted, Curacao, another five people were diagnosed with the potentially deadly flu-like virus.

It had been due to arrive at its final stop in Barbados on Thursday, but was refused entry.

It then sailed to Freetown, Barbados, from where it was also blocked.

The ship was also refused entry to port at the end of its previous cruise, a 14-day sail around the Eastern Caribbean, after eight people on board were said to be suffering 'flu-like symptoms'.

It was eventually allowed to dock at St Maarten.

Fred Olsen has said that at the start of the present cruise, no passengers had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and that it has vetted their medical and travel history.

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