Coronavirus: One Briton fell ill during Wuhan evacuation flight

By | February 3, 2020

One of the 11 passengers flown back to the UK from China on Sunday following the coronavirus outbreak has been taken to hospital after feeling unwell.

Anthony May-Smith was on the second evacuation flight for British nationals from Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak.

He told Sky News he was put into isolation because of a cough and sore throat but now felt “fine”.

The other 10 passengers were taken to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral, joining 83 others evacuated last week.

A Wirral Council statement said: “None of the other new arrivals have shown any symptoms, but as a precautionary measure they were allocated rooms in a separate area of the facility, isolated from those already there.”

Mr May-Smith, who is being looked after in Oxford, said he was waiting for test results to come back on Tuesday.

He said: “I feel fine now, I think it’s probably the stress of getting back and being run down more than anything.”

The group landed at RAF base Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, on Sunday evening, after returning from Wuhan via Marseille, in France.

The Department of Health said one person developed “mild, cold-like symptoms” during the flight.

A spokesman added: “Following the agreed protocol, this individual was further separated from others on the flight and after landing was taken by ambulance to a specialist NHS facility for further assessment.”

The first group arrived in the UK on Friday and are spending two weeks in quarantine in two apartment blocks normally used to house nurses.

The virus can cause severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

There have been two confirmed cases of the virus in the UK. Two Chinese nationals – a University of York student and one of their relatives – continue to be treated in the specialist infectious diseases unit at Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary.

The Department of Health said that as of 14:00 GMT on Monday a total of 324 people had tested negative from 326 tests in the UK.

There are more than 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus in China. Some 361 people have died there.

Outside China, there are more than 150 confirmed cases of the virus – and one death, in the Philippines.

The British embassy in Beijing tweeted on Monday that it was working hard to get seats for British nationals on a number of new flights this week out of the Hubei province, where the virus originated.

The statement said they “may be the last flights for foreign nationals out of Hubei” and urged any British national to get in touch if they wanted to travel.

It comes as the UK government donated £20m towards a plan to produce a vaccine to combat the virus.

The money will go to CEPI – the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations – a global body aiming to fast-track a vaccine within six to eight months.

Last week, the risk level to the UK was raised from low to moderate as the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency.

BBC News – Health