Coronavirus: Quarantined Brits 'in good spirits' at Arrowe Park Hospital

3 February 2020, 10:39

Buses took the quarantined Brits to Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral
Buses took the quarantined Brits to Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral. Picture: PA

By Megan White

A teacher being kept in quarantine with 93 other Brits after returning from Wuhan amid the coronavirus outbreak said the group are “in good spirits.”

The group, who were evacuated on two repatriation flights from the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak, are being kept in isolation at Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral.

The British nationals and some foreign relatives will be held in an accommodation block at the hospital for two weeks to monitor for any symptoms of the virus.

Kharn Lambert, a PE teacher, has lived in Wuhan for the last five years and was being visited by his 81-year-old grandmother, Veronica Theobald, when the outbreak occurred.

Mr Lambert and Mrs Theobald arrived at the hospital on January 31 as part of the first group of 83 British evacuees.

Mr Lambert told Sky News' Kay Burley on Monday: "It's quite weird being home but not being home, and also being locked in - almost like being back in Wuhan really - where we can't get outside certain perimeters and go further, so it's a bit of a weird feeling really."

He said that, out of the original group, no-one was showing any coronavirus symptoms or complaining about feeling unwell.

But one passenger from the second group - eleven passengers made up of seven British nationals and four of their family members - was taken ill on the flight on Sunday, and has been hospitalised while tests are carried out.

According to an email from Janelle Holmes, chief executive of Arrowe Park, the unwell passenger "immediately self-isolated" and was taken to a separate NHS hospital when the flight landed.

"Everybody is in good spirits," Mr Lambert added. "As you can imagine, it's not the best of circumstances but we're all trying to keep our spirits high.

Nurses at Arrowe Park Hospital ahead of the patients' arrival
Nurses at Arrowe Park Hospital ahead of the patients' arrival. Picture: PA

"We're playing jokes on each other, we're having a laugh when we have the chance to see each other."

Members of staff at the hospital could be seen unloading children's toys as well as games consoles when preparing for the first group of arrivals on Friday.

"Most of this stuff is coming from donations from people on the Wirral just to keep us entertained really," Mr Lambert said.

Mrs Theobald, from Lancaster, has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and her grandson previously said that he was worried about the impact of the outbreak on her.

After the long journey back to the UK, Mr Lambert said his grandmother was recovering from the trip and added: "I spoke to her late last night and she's in good spirits again."

He later praised the staff taking care of the evacuees in the hospital accommodation block.

He said: "They're all being told to wear protection, ie masks and gloves, when they're in the communal areas.

"They've been absolutely fantastic since the moment we arrived and we can't thank them enough for everything they're doing for us at the moment."

He added that he would wait for advice from the British and Chinese governments about returning to his job at a school in Wuhan.