Coronavirus: Evacuation flight for Britons in Wuhan cleared for take-off

An evacuation flight to bring British nationals back to the UK from the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak will leave early on Friday, the Foreign Secretary said.

In a statement, Dominic Raab said: “We are pleased to have confirmation from the Chinese authorities that the evacuation flight from Wuhan airport to the UK can depart at 5am local time on Friday 31 January.

“The safety and security of British nationals is our top priority. Our Embassy in Beijing and consular teams remain in close contact with British nationals in the region to ensure they have the latest information they need.”

Speaking at a Policy Exchange event in Westminster earlier, Mr Raab said officials in the Foreign Office had “been working tirelessly” to get citizens out of Wuhan.

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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during a Policy Exchange event (Aaron Chown/PA)

He added: “We’ve been working with the Department of Health flat out, 24/7, to try and make sure we can identify British nationals in Wuhan, get them to a muster point and get them to a flight, a chartered flight in and out.”

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The flight could land at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, it is understood.

Passengers will then be taken to an NHS facility in the North West for a quarantine period of 14 days, sources told PA.

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