Raab hopeful over coronavirus flight to bring back UK nationals

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said he is “hopeful” that a chartered plane  bringing British nationals back from coronavirus-hit Wuhan in China will leave on Thursday evening.

Speaking at a Policy Exchange event in Westminster, Mr Raab said officials in the Foreign Office had “been working tirelessly”.

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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.

“We are hopeful now of doing that this evening. But, of course, this depends on the decisions taken by the Chinese government.

“I spoke to the Chinese foreign minister on Monday. We are working those through and we think –  we hope – now that that will happen later this evening.

“I can guarantee and reassure the people who are out there and the families here that we are doing everything we can around the clock to make that happen.”

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The flight, which has not yet been given permission to leave by Chinese authorities, 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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