Time is running out for Britons to leave the Chinese epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

One last flight out of the city of Wuhan has been chartered by the British government, who are urging citizens to get out while they still can.

The flu-like disease has now infected 24,505 people and has claimed 490 lives after rapidly spreading in China’s Hubei province.

After the airborne virus spread to a number of countries, prompting governments on all sides of the globe to try and pull their citizens from the heart of the crisis.

The UK’s last chartered plane is expected to leave in the early hours of Sunday morning and will land at RAF Brize Norton, the Foreign Office said.



The government department said they want to ensure all British nationals in Huubei province contact their team to register if they want to leave on the flight.

It is understood that 165 Britons and their dependants remain in Hubei province while 108 people have requested assistance to leave as of the early hours of this morning.

A total of 94 UK nationals and family members have already been evacuated to Britain from Wuhan on two flights which arrived on Friday and Sunday.

One passenger was taken to hospital in Oxford after telling medics he had a cough and a cold, while the rest of those who came back are in quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral. Merseyside.

Last night 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.

‘I encourage all British nationals in Hubei to register with our teams if they want to leave on this flight.’

Meanwhile 14 Britons and dependants left Wuhan for Auckland, New Zealand yesterday evening.

British diplomat Danae Dholakia  said she was ‘so grateful’ to her ‘wonderful’ Kiwi counterparts for holding up the plane to allow a four-year-old child to get clearance to fly.



Among those stuck on the ship in Yokohama Bay, near Tokyo, are David and Sally Abel.

Speaking on a video posted on Facebook, Mr Abel, of Woodford Halse in Oxfordshire said most passengers were ‘confined to their cabins’.

He added: ‘The 10 people that are affected, they are being taken off very soon by the local coastguard into a medical facility.

‘Naturally, we want to be home. We are missing our little Yorkie dogs. But two weeks, it’ll go quite quickly I hope.’

Yesterday a British man who fears he contracted coronavirus said he is isolated in his apartment in Wuhan and has been given no indication of when he will be able to leave the city.

Meanwhile a 23-year-old teacher from New Tredegar in South Wales, believes he may have contracted the virus at the end of November, before the mass outbreak was thrust into the media spotlight.

Jamie Morris said he had not been able to make recent flights to the UK because his passport gad been given to the Chinese government to extend his residency permit.

He said the Foreign Office’s crisis team in London told him to ‘be patient and they will be in touch if anything changes’.

Earlier Raab said: ‘We now advise British nationals in China to leave the country if they can, to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus.’

Health officials have have told passengers on the Diamond Princess to stay where they are while others showing signs of sickness have been transferred for treatment (Picture: Getty Images)On Monday Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there were ‘no plans to evacuate all remaining UK nationals in China’.


He added: ‘We haven’t seen the peak of the coronavirus by a long stretch and we expect more cases in the UK.

‘We have a full plan in place to treat all those who have symptoms and test positively for coronavirus and we are working with international partners both to slow the spread and also to do the research that we need to do to find a vaccine.’

Health officials are trying to trace 239 people who flew from Wuhan to the UK before travel restrictions came into force.

The Department of Health said that, as of Tuesday, 414 people have tested negative for coronavirus.

The World Health Organisation said it is still early in the outbreak, but coronavirus does not yet constitute a pandemic.

Meanwhile, the University of York confirmed a student who contracted the bug returned to his apartment but did not come into contact with other residents.

The unnamed student is now being treated with a relative at a specialist facility in Newcastle.

He was not in the Vita Student block when he came into contact with the virus but ‘did return to their room on one occasion and stayed overnight’, the university said in a bid to reassure other students.


Elsewhere, Public Health England (PHE) confirmed a Belgian woman on board the same French flight that brought back UK citizens from China on Sunday has tested positive for the new strain.

Nick Phin, PHE’s National Infection Service deputy director, said: ‘All of the individuals who were on this flight are currently in supervised isolation and are being monitored for symptoms.’