Evacuation flight carrying more than 200 people leaves Wuhan

8 February 2020, 21:02

The flight is leaving Wuhan on Sunday night
The flight is leaving Wuhan on Sunday night. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

An evacuation flight out of the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak is due to land in the UK on Sunday morning carrying more than 200 passengers.

The second and final flight to be chartered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) left Wuhan at 3.20am local time on Sunday, carrying Britons and other nationalities.

The plane, with British Government staff and military medics on board, is expected to arrive at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire at around 5.30am.

An FCO spokesman said: "Our final flight from Wuhan took off at 3.20am (local time) with over 200 passengers on board, including our staff who have facilitated the flight and medics.

"Alongside British nationals, there are other nationalities on board."

South Central Ambulance Service said Kents Hill Park, a conference centre and hotel, will be used to house the returnees and they will remain there in isolation for 14 days.

The ambulance service said the presence of the group in Milton Keynes does not present a risk to local people.

Everyone boarding the plane in Wuhan will be assessed and will continue to be monitored after landing in the UK.

Anyone displaying symptoms would not have been permitted to board the plane.

If any develops symptoms on the flight they will be taken to a separate cabin on the plane, and those who display symptoms on landing will be transferred to an NHS hospital.

The first group of Britons who returned on a flight last month are continuing their quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital, Merseyside.

The death toll in the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China rose to 723 on Saturday, while new cases jumped to 34,598.

Outside China there are 288 cases in 24 countries, with one death, according to the World Health Organisation.

Wuhan is the worst affected area
Wuhan is the worst affected area. Picture: PA

Meanwhile, five Britons have tested positive for coronavirus in France.

The four adults and a child were diagnosed after they came into contact with a British national who had recently returned from Singapore, the French health ministry said.

The five British nationals, who are not in a serious condition, were staying in the Alpine resort area of Contamines-Montjoie near Mont Blanc.

French officials said the British national who was in Singapore returned on January 24 and stayed for four days in the area in eastern France, before returning to England on January 28.

The five Britons whose diagnosis was confirmed, as well as people they had close contact with - 11 people in total, all British - were taken to hospital on Friday night in Lyon, Saint-Etienne and Grenoble.

Elsewhere, British honeymooner Alan Steele, who was transferred from the cruise liner Diamond Princess to hospital in Japan with coronavirus was said to be feeling well and in good spirits.

Mr Steele, from Wolverhampton, was moved to hospital on Friday while his wife Wendy remained on board the ship.

The liner had been isolated in the port of Yokohama before going back out to sea, with 61 people taken to hospital after testing positive for the virus.

In Majorca, a British family of four was being tested after coming into contact with a coronavirus sufferer in France, the government in the Balearic Islands said.

A student at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy in Brighton is self-isolating for 14 days following advice from Public Health England.

The Department of Health and Social Care said 620 people in the UK had been tested for coronavirus as of 2pm on Friday, with three cases confirmed.

It is understood the third caught the illness in Singapore. He is reported to be a middle-aged British man and is understood to be the first UK national to contract the disease.

He is thought to have been diagnosed in Brighton and was transferred to St Thomas' Hospital in London, where there is an infectious diseases unit, on Thursday afternoon.

Two other patients who had recently travelled from China are being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary infectious diseases centre in Newcastle.
One is a student at the University of York, while the other is a family member.