Coronavirus: 11 Britons To Be Evacuated From Wuhan

The first death from the virus outside China has been reported in the Philippines.

A second group of British evacuees from coronavirus-stricken Wuhan are set to arrive in the UK on Sunday.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab confirmed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that 11 British nationals would be returning on a French flight.

He said the government, which estimated there may be around 30,000 British citizens in China, is doing all it can to help those from the UK leave Wuhan if they choose to do so.

“We’ll do everything we can to make sure that those that still want to leave, give them the opportunity to do so,” he said.

He added: “The challenge that we’ve got, and the Chinese have got frankly, is to contain the virus but also then to lift out people that want to come back home and we’re doing that as sensitively and as effectively as we can.”

The 11 will go into quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, where 83 British nationals who arrived from Wuhan on Friday are already staying.

Thee foreign minister said: “They will go to the Arrowe Park facility and all of the protections, the support during the 14-day period will be put in place.

“So they will be treated very well, and of course the reason we need to do that is on the one hand we want to get the UK nationals that want to leave China out, on the other hand we need to make sure we control and prevent the spread of the coronavirus because of the implications that that would have.”

Meanwhile, the first death from the virus outside China was officially reported early on Sunday morning.

A 44-year-old man from Wuhan died in a hospital in Manilla, in the Philippines after being admitted with a high fever, cough, and sore throat, the country’s health department confirmed.

He developed severe pneumonia but “showed signs of improvement” in the days before his death, and the 38-year-old woman he was with has tested positive for the virus and remains in hospital isolation.

President Rodrigo Duterte approved a temporary ban on all travellers, except Filipinos, from China and its autonomous regions.

More than 300 people have died after contracting the novel coronavirus, and official figures state almost 12,000 cases of infection. The vast majority of cases have been found in China, near the epicentre of the outbreak in Wuhan.

The death follows the World Health Organisation (WHO) calling on governments to prepare for “domestic outbreak control” if the virus spreads in their countries.

Beijing has criticised Washington’s order barring entry to the US to most foreigners who visited China in the past two weeks.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison announced similar measures on Saturday, following Japan and Singapore.

Meanwhile, South Korea and India flew hundreds of their citizens out of Wuhan, the city at the centre of an area where some 50 million people are prevented from leaving in a sweeping anti-virus effort. The evacuees went into a two-week quarantine.

The number of confirmed cases in China has surpassed the number in the 2002-03 outbreak of Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

The virus’s rapid spread in two months prompted the WHO to declare it a global emergency on Thursday.

That declaration “flipped the switch” from a cautious attitude earlier to recommending governments prepare for the possibility the virus might spread, said WHO’s representative in Beijing, Gauden Galea.

Among a growing number of airlines suspending flights to mainland China was Qatar Airways.

The Doha-based carrier said on its website that its flights would stop on Monday.

It blamed “significant operational challenges caused by entry restrictions imposed by a number of countries” for the suspension of flights.


What's Hot