Hours after advising British travellers to get out of China, the Foreign Office has chartered a “last chance” rescue flight for UK citizens in Wuhan the city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak
In the early hours of Sunday morning, 9 February, they will be evacuated from the capital of Hubei province in central China to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
The Independent understands a Boeing 747 will be used. It is likely to be chartered from the Spanish airline, Wamos.
A “small number” of medical personnel will be on board, as well as Foreign Office officials.
The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said: “We have been working round the clock to help British nationals leave Hubei province, on UK, French and New Zealand flights.
“The Foreign Office is chartering a second and final UK flight with space to help all British nationals and their dependants remaining in Hubei to leave.
British nationals who want to leave on the flight but who have not yet registered are asked to do so by calling +86 10 8529 6600.
Earlier, the Foreign Office warned all British citizens in mainland China to leave, saying: “It may become harder to access departure options over the coming weeks.”
Many airlines are still operating flights to and from the People’s Republic, including three Chinese carriers serving Gatwick and Heathrow.
The latest advice does not apply to Hong Kong or Macau.