Brits returning from China to be quarantined ‘on army base’ for two weeks over coronavirus

29 January 2020, 19:56 | Updated: 29 January 2020, 20:01

BA has suspended all flights to and from mainland China
BA has suspended all flights to and from mainland China. Picture: PA

British people who are airlifted back to the UK from Wuhan will be quarantined on an army base for two weeks, the Department for Health has said.

Around 200 British nationals are estimated to be in the city, which is currently the epicentre of the outbreak.

Those who registered with the British consulate are due to be flown back on Thursday morning.

Passengers may be asked to sign a contract before they board the plane saying they agree to being placed in quarantine.

Anyone who does not wish to sign could be asked to stay.

On Wednesday evening, World Athletics announced the World Athletics Indoor Championship would be postponed until March 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this morning British Airways suspended all flights to and from mainland China amid a Coronavirus outbreak which has so far infected almost 6,000 people and claimed the lives of 132.

Currently, the airline's website does not allow users to book any flights to China in January and February.

Yesterday, the Foreign Office advised against "all but essential travel" to and from the mainland due to the outbreak

In a statement, British Airways said: "We have suspended all flights to and from mainland China with immediate effect following advice from the Foreign Office against all but essential travel.

"We apologise to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority.

"Customers due to travel to or from China in the coming days can find more information on"

Flights to and from Hong Kong will continue, but BA said passengers will need to use an alternative company if they want to get to the mainland.

Urgent plans to bring stranded Brits back home are currently being finalised, and those who are flown back will be quarantined for two weeks upon their return.

Any British citizen in Wuhan - the epicentre of the viral outbreak - or the surrounding area had until 3am (11am local time) this morning to inform the British Consulate of their wish to return.

The first flights could begin to return as early as Thursday morning.

Culture Secretary Baroness Morgan said BA's decision to suspend all flights to China would give "more impetus" to the Government's bid to arrange for Britons to travel home.

"The Foreign Office will be working with staff on the ground to identify UK nationals," the Conservative peer said.

"We will get people home as soon as we can, as soon as we can make arrangements.

"Obviously, today's decision by British Airways provides more impetus to the Government to make other plans and communicate those.

"The health system is well prepared. We are not aware of any confirmed cases of the virus here in the UK but we do have the expertise to look after people, to treat and to test should that become necessary."

The biggest US carrier to China, United Airlines, has also announced it will be cutting 24 flights to the area, and the White House is reportedly considering stopping all US-China flights completely."

So far, 97 people in the UK have been tested for Coronavirus, with all of them coming back negative.

There were fears coronavirus may have entered the UK after medics in hazmat suits were seen dealing with a patient in Birmingham.

A video taken by a concerned resident shows one medic wearing a full body suit entering an ambulance flanked by two other people wearing face masks.

39-year-old Drew Bennett was being taken for tests, according to Birmingham Live.

Mr Bennett reported he had recently returned from China and was suffering from flu-like symptoms, when an ambulance rushed to his home.

In Europe, four cases have so far been confirmed in Germany, with one man being infected by a Chinese colleague making it the first confirmed case of human-to-human transmission on the continent.

France has also confirmed four people have the infection.