Coronavirus: Final Rescue Flight from Wuhan Due Cack in UK
Global Top Stories 9 February 2020 Arabia Day Newsdesk 0
More than 200 people evacuated from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan is due to land at RAF Brize Norton within hours.
The Foreign Office said the final repatriation flight was carrying government staff, military medics, UK citizens and foreign nationals.
Evacuees will be taken from Oxfordshire to a Milton Keynes conference centre for 14 days of quarantine.
There have been almost 35,000 cases of the virus globally, mostly in China, with three confirmed cases in the UK.
The death toll for coronavirus has now overtaken that of the Sars epidemic in 2003, according to health officials in China, reaching 803. In 2003, 774 people were killed by Sars.
The flight, which took off at 19:20 GMT on Saturday, is the second and last flight chartered by the Foreign Office out of Wuhan, the city where the new coronavirus emerged.
More than 100 UK nationals and family members have already been evacuated to Britain on flights chartered by the UK and other countries. They are being held in quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral.
The latest returnees will be housed at Kents Hill Park conference centre and hotel, where they will remain in isolation for two weeks – the incubation period of the virus – to ensure they are not infected.
At the hotel, they will have access to Netflix, magazines, books, baby equipment including highchairs, children’s toys and games, mobile phones, and tablets for reading, games, and browsing the internet, the NHS said.
Clothing and toiletries have been laid out for their arrival. Passengers on the previous flight said they were only allowed to travel with a 15kg (33lb) cabin bag.
The flight follows the decision by the Foreign Office on 4 February to advise all Britons to leave China if they can.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have suspended all flights to and from mainland China, while other carriers continue to operate flights between the UK and China.
Outside of China, 288 cases have been confirmed in 24 countries, according to the World Health Organization. All the fatal cases have been in China and Hong Kong apart from one in the Philippines.
In the UK, the Department of Health and Social Care said that 686 people in the UK have been tested for coronavirus as of Saturday afternoon, with three cases confirmed.
The virus causes severe short-term infection of the airways, and symptoms usually start with a fever, followed by a dry cough. Most people are likely to fully recover – just as they would from the flu.
Two of the UK coronavirus cases – both Chinese nationals – are being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
After the third case was confirmed, it emerged that the British man had been exposed to the virus in Singapore and stopped at a ski resort in France before returning home.
There, five more Britons – four adults and a nine-year-old boy – staying at the same chalet in the Alps tested positive for the virus.
In Majorca, Spanish authorities said four members of a British family have also been taken into hospital after coming into contact with a coronavirus carrier in France. They are being tested for the virus at the University Hospital of Son Espases in Palma.
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