Coronavirus: British nationals to be evacuated from infected Chinese province this week

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Members of security wear facemasks inside the high-speed train station connecting Hong Kong to mainland China during a public holiday in celebration of the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong on January 28, 2020, as a preventative measure following a virus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan. - China on January 28 urged its citizens to postpone travel abroad as it expanded unprecedented efforts to contain a viral outbreak that has killed 106 people and left other governments racing to pull their nationals from the contagion's epicentre. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)
Transport networks across China have been shut down over fears of the virus spreading. (Getty)

British nationals stranded in the Chinese province at the heart of the coronavirus outbreak are expected to be flown home this week.

UK citizens in Wuhan have reportedly been given details of their forthcoming flights, some of which are set to leave as early as Thursday.

Those who wish to depart the region have been told to urgently contact the British consulate before 11am on Wednesday.

The Foreign Office confirmed on Tuesday evening it had made plans for the evacuation as it issued new travel advice for China which warned people to avoid “against all but essential travel” to the mainland.

he British embassy in Beijing has said transport to get UK citizens out “may happen quickly and with short notice”.

The British flag flies at half-mast at the British embassy in Beijing after news of the death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, on April 9, 2013.  Thatcher was an "outstanding" leader who wisely compromised over Hong Kong's future, Chinese state media said, although reactions to her death in the territory itself were mixed. The news of the former British prime minister's death at the age of 87 featured on the front-pages of most major Chinese newspapers, with the English-language China Daily also devoting the whole of its back page to her.        AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON        (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)
The British embassy in Beijing said the evacuation “may happen quickly and with short notice”. (Getty)

A British teacher living in the city said she had been in contact with the British authorities who informed her that while she could return to the UK, her husband, who has a UK visa, would not be allowed to as he was a Chinese national.

As a result, she decided that she would remain in China with her husband.

She said: “It’s what we were expecting to be honest, as we’d heard that it was like that for the American flight out. We had hoped it would be different, but oh well.


As a virologist, I can tell you all you need to know about the coronavirus – and why you can stop panicking

European shares dip as Chinese coronavirus concerns deepen

China coronavirus: What are the symptoms, where has it spread and is there treatment?

“If the situation stays as it is, or improves, then we’re fine. We just hope it won’t get any more serious.”

She added that a number of other Britons she was in contact with had arranged to return home, with some scheduled on a flight at 7am on Thursday.

So far almost 100 people in the UK have tested negative for coronavirus.

The Department of Health and Social Care said 97 people have been given the all-clear for the virus, although scientists predict it may have entered the country.

Earlier, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government was “working on” how to bring people home from the Chinese city.

He told BBC Breakfast: “For anybody who is there, one of the issues we have, working with our partners internationally on this, is actually identifying how many British citizens there are in Wuhan.

“One of the things we’re asking people to do is to contact the consulate there to make them aware. People have started to do that.

“We are working on arrangements as well.”

Officials estimate up to 200 citizens currently there will want to return to the UK.

More than 100 people have now died in the country, with confirmed infections surging to more than 4,500.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting