Woman on repatriation flight with Brits confirmed to have coronavirus

4 February 2020, 20:52

A Belgian woman who was on a flight from Wuhan with other Britons has tested positive for coronavirus
A Belgian woman who was on a flight from Wuhan with other Britons has tested positive for coronavirus. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A Belgian woman who was on board a flight from Wuhan, China with Britons has tested positive for Coronavirus, Public Health England has said.

Belgium's health agency said the woman was one of nine Belgians on board the flight back to France, which carried passengers from 30 other countries.

Some 11 UK citizens and family members on the flight were then flown on to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Of these, 10 continued to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral for a 14-day period of isolation, while Anthony May-Smith was taken to hospital in Oxford to be tested for potential coronavirus.

National Infection Service deputy director Nick Phin said in a statement tonight: "Public Health England has been notified that a Belgian national who shared a flight with repatriated British Nationals has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

"All of the individuals who were on this flight are currently in supervised isolation and are being monitored for symptoms."

A plane is seen arriving in Melsbroek, Belgium, from Wuhan carrying European nationals
A plane is seen arriving in Melsbroek, Belgium, from Wuhan carrying European nationals. Picture: PA

So far only two people have been confirmed to have coronavirus in the UK.

The University of York student and his relative are currently being treated in Newcastle.

Earlier today, all Britons in China were told to leave the country due to the outbreak.

In a statement on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Raab said the decision was made to "minimise their risk of exposure to the virus".

He said: "The safety and security of British people will always be our top priority."

As such, we now advise British nationals in China to leave the country if they can, to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus.

British nationals are being taken to Arrowe Park hospital in the Wirral to stay in quarantine for two weeks after arriving
British nationals are being taken to Arrowe Park hospital in the Wirral to stay in quarantine for two weeks after arriving. Picture: PA
A nurse looks out from a window at Arrowe Park
A member of medical staff looks out from a window at Arrowe Park. Picture: PA

"Where there are still British nationals in Hubei province who wish to be evacuated, we will continue to work around the clock to facilitate this."

It comes after the number of deaths from the virus reached 425 on Tuesday morning, and confirmed cases surpassed 20,000.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Raab said the decision was made to "minimise their risk of exposure to the virus".

He said: "The safety and security of British people will always be our top priority."As such, we now advise British nationals in China to leave the country if they can, to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus."Where there are still British nationals in Hubei province who wish to be evacuated, we will continue to work around the clock to facilitate this."

It comes after the number of deaths from the virus reached 425 on Tuesday morning, and confirmed cases surpassed 20,000.

READ MORE:

- First death in Hong Kong as number killed by disease hits 425

- Wuhan coronavirus hospital opens after being built in just ten days

- ‘Don’t die, please buy’ Glasgow newsagent sells out entire stock of coronavirus face masks

The construction site of Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan, one of the makeshift hospitals being built in China to deal with the outbreak
The construction site of Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan, one of the makeshift hospitals being built in China to deal with the outbreak. Picture: PA
The virus has so far killed 425 people in China and Hong Kong
The virus has so far killed 425 people in China and Hong Kong. Picture: PA

Health Secretary Matt Hancock later warned the UK had not seen the peak of the illness "by a long stretch".He said: "We expect more cases in the UK.

"We have a full plan in place to treat all those who have symptoms and test positively for coronavirus and we are working with international partners both to slow the spread and also to do the research that we ned to do to find a vaccine."

So far, 94 British citizens have been repatriated from Wuhan - the epicentre of the outbreak - and are currently being held in quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral.

According to the British Embassy in Beijing, the final evacuation flights for British nationals were expected to leave later this week.

Meanwhile, 14 seats have been allocated on an Air New Zealand flight leaving China later today.

Authorities in the UK are also still working to track down 239 nationals who had flown back from Wuhan before travel restrictions were put in place.