Final evacuation flight out of Wuhan lands in UK

A plane carrying British citizens evacuated from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan has landed in Oxfordshire, as the death toll in China from the virus rose to 811.

The flight, with more than 200 people on board, including some foreign nationals, arrived at RAF Brize Norton shortly before 7.30am on Sunday.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was the second and final flight to be chartered by the Government and had British Government staff and military medics on board.

The passengers will now be taken to the Kents Hill Park hotel and conference centre in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, where they will be quarantined for 14 days.

The ambulance service said the presence of the group in Milton Keynes would not present a risk to local people.

The death toll in China from the coronavirus has risen to 811, surpassing SARS fatalities in the 2002-2003 outbreak.

The number of new cases announced on Sunday, however, had decreased from the day before, raising hopes the spread of the disease was being restricted.

China’s National Health Commission said total cases in the country from the virus had increased by 2,656 in the 24 hours to Sunday morning to reach 37,198, down from the 3,399 new cases announced a day earlier.

Passengers on the plane from Wuhan will be assessed and will continue to be monitored.

Anyone displaying symptoms would not have been permitted to board the plane.

Officials said any passengers developing symptoms on the flight were to be taken to a separate cabin on the plane. Anyone displaying symptoms on landing would be transferred to an NHS hospital.

The first group of Britons who returned on a flight last month are continuing their quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital, Merseyside.

The first plane's arrival at RAF Brize Norton
The first plane’s arrival at RAF Brize Norton (Ben Birchall/PA)

Outside China there are 288 cases in 24 countries, with one death, according to the World Health Organisation.

Meanwhile, five Britons have tested positive for coronavirus in France.

The four adults and a nine-year-old child were diagnosed after they came into contact with a British national who had recently returned from Singapore, the French health ministry said.

The five British nationals, who are not in a serious condition, were staying in the Alpine resort area of Contamines-Montjoie near Mont Blanc.

French officials said the British national who was in Singapore returned on January 24 and stayed for four days in the area in eastern France, before returning to England on January 28.

The five Britons whose diagnosis was confirmed, as well as six compatriots with whom they had close contact, were taken to hospitals on Friday night in Lyon, Saint-Etienne and Grenoble.

The chalet where they were staying housed a British family that lives in Contamines and another British family who were on holidays.

The ill child lives in Contamines and attends a local school, and took French classes at another local school, regional officials told a news conference on Saturday.

Both schools will be closed, and the pupils will be monitored for signs of the virus.

Elsewhere, British honeymooner Alan Steele, who was transferred from the cruise liner Diamond Princess to hospital in Japan with coronavirus was said to be feeling well and in good spirits.

Mr Steele, from Wolverhampton, was moved to hospital on Friday while his wife Wendy remained on board the ship.

The liner had been isolated in the port of Yokohama before going back out to sea, with 61 people taken to hospital after testing positive for the virus.

Staff on the Diamond Princess cruise ship
Staff on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (@daxa_tw/PA)

In Majorca, a British family of four was being tested after coming into contact with a coronavirus sufferer in France, the government in the Balearic Islands said.

A student at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy in Brighton is self-isolating for 14 days following advice from Public Health England.

The Department of Health and Social Care said 620 people in the UK had been tested for coronavirus as of 2pm on Friday, with three cases confirmed.

It is understood the third caught the illness in Singapore. He is reported to be a middle-aged British man and is understood to be the first UK national to contract the disease.

He is thought to have been diagnosed in Brighton and was transferred to St Thomas’ Hospital in London, where there is an infectious diseases unit, on Thursday afternoon.

Two other patients who had recently travelled from China are being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary infectious diseases centre in Newcastle.

One is a student at the University of York, while the other is a family member.

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