UK citizens in Wuhan urged to contact consulate

UK citizens stranded in Wuhan due to the coronavirus are being urged to contact the British consulate as part of repatriation plans.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government is “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.”

He added: “If they actually contact the consulate where they are then that consulate is in fact gathering together all the information of the people who are there, in order to help repatriate where that’s appropriate.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously insisted the Government is doing “everything we can” to get Britons out of Hubei province, which includes Wuhan.

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

Hubei province has been on lockdown for several days as China seeks to contain the illness.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called for people who have returned to the UK from Wuhan to “self-isolate” even if they have no symptoms.

He said officials could not be 100% certain the virus is not spread by people who are not displaying symptoms.

The move means more than 1,400 people who have returned from Wuhan since January 10 should isolate themselves for 14 days from the date of leaving China.

Some 1,561 people are now known to have entered the UK from Wuhan since January 10, including airline crew, although some have since left again.

Just 10% of these people supplied an email address to the airline and have been contacted with advice on what to do if they feel ill.

Mr Hancock said Public Health England officials are trying to trace the others.