recentnews

News at the moment

WORLD

Britons left behind in Wuhan after ‘not having enough time’ to reach plane



The latest headlines in your inbox

Brits say they have been left behind in coronavirus-hit Wuhan after not being given enough time to make the evacuation flight back to the UK.

After several delays, the flight – chartered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) – left Wuhan at 9.45am local time on Friday, carrying 83 Britons and 27 non-UK nationals, mostly from EU countries.

It is due to arrive at Brize Norton RAF in Oxfordshire at about 1.30pm.

But some Britons in Wuhan have said they were not given enough time to get to the flight in a city which is on “virtual lockdown” with little public transport.

It is understood that the FCO sent consular cars and issued special travel permits to get people through roadblocks in the locked down city.

The Foreign Office is reportedly now in “urgent discussions” with EU countries about a second rescue flight back from Wuhan.

Roads and public transport have been shut down in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province (AFP via Getty Images)

British father Adam Bridgeman told the BBC’s Today programme on Friday that a car arrived too late to get him, his wife and one-month-old son to the airport on time.

He said his Chinese wife had even tried calling the police to see if they could help get them there on time.

Wuhan, China: Coronavirus – In pictures

1/46

A chartered passenger jet carrying evacuated citizens from China taxis on the runway after landing at the Royal Air Force station RAF Brize Norton in Carterton

AFP via Getty Images

2/46

British nationals evacuated from Wuhan in China amid the novel coronavirus outbreak disembark a chartered passenger jet at the Royal Air Force station RAF Brize Norton in Carterton

AFP via Getty Images

3/46

A plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire

4/46

French citizens arrive and settle aboard of an evacuation plane with destination southeastern France, before departure from Wuhan Airport (WUH), China

AFP via Getty Images

5/46

A police vehicle enters the gates of the Royal Air Force station RAF Brize Norton in Carterton

AFP via Getty Images

6/46

Staff members of a funeral parlour wearing protective suits disinfecting a colleague after they transferred a body at a hospital in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province, during the virus outbreak in the city

AFP via Getty Images

7/46

A chartered passenger jet carrying evacuated citizens from China taxis on the runway after landing at the Royal Air Force station RAF Brize Norton in Carterto

Reuters

8/46

The Costa Smeralda cruise ship of Costa Crociere, carrying around 6,000 passengers, is docked at the Italian port of Civitavecchia after a health alert due to a Chinese couple and a possible link to coronavirus on board, in Civitavecchia, Italy

Reuters

9/46

Base personnel patrol inside a gate at the Royal Air Force station RAF Brize Norton in Carterton

AFP via Getty Images

10/46

A member of staff at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside prepares for a bus carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China

PA

11/46

Police stand at a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge that crosses from Hubei province in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China

REUTERS

12/46

An ambulance carrying a South Korea citizen repatriated from Wuhan, China who has shown flu-like symptoms during in-flight screening for novel coronavirus leaves Gimpo airport

Getty Images

13/46

Coaches enter RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, where a plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China

PA

14/46

Medical staff walk to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases building at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore

AFP via Getty Images

15/46

Passengers wearing face masks are seen on a bus after disembarking from the Costa Smeralda cruise ship, after tests on a woman from Macau with suspected coronavirus came back negative, in Civitavecchia, Italy

Reuters

16/46

Passengers wear face masks as the push their luggage after arriving from a flight at Terminal 5 of London Heathrow Airport

AFP via Getty Images

17/46

Empty racks where face masks are usually sold at a DIY store in west London. Pharmacies are working to boost stocks as demand for face masks in the UK appears to be on the rise amid fears about the coronavirus

PA

18/46

Workers produce masks at the Thai Hospital Product Company Ltd. factory in Bangkok

AFP via Getty Images

19/46

People hoard bottles of alcohol after the Philippine government confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus in the country, in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Reuters

20/46

A man hoards the last few bottles of alcohol left in a pharmacy, after the Philippine government confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus in the country, in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Reuters

21/46

Taking precautions: with fears growing that the coronavirus will spread from China, a health official checks a woman’s temperature on the underground in Beijing

Getty Images

22/46

An empty road is seen in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on January 27, 2020, amid a deadly virus outbreak which began in the city

AFP via Getty Images

23/46

Passengers in the arrivals concourse at Heathrow Terminal 4, London, as the Government’s Cobra committee is meeting in Downing Street to discuss the threat to the UK from coronavirus

PA

24/46

Students wearing masks meditate prior to a lesson at a high school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

AP

25/46

An arrivals board showing a cancelled flight from Wuhan to Heathrow Terminal 4, London, as the Government’s Cobra committee is meeting in Downing Street to discuss the threat to the UK from coronavirus

PA

26/46

Paramilitary police wear face masks as they stand guard at Tiananmen Gate adjacent to Tiananmen Square in Beijing

AP

27/46

Medical staff at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital wear protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus

AFP via Getty Images

28/46

Staff move bio-waste containers past the entrance of the Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China

AP

29/46

Buddhist monks wear masks as they walk near Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodi

AP

30/46

Workers driving excavators at the construction site of a field hospital In Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The builders will complete the 1,000-bed hospital by February 3 to cope with the surge of 2019-nCoV patients in the city

Getty Images

31/46

A woman and a child wearing protective masks walk toward check-in counters at Daxing international airport in Beijing

AFP via Getty Images

32/46

Medical staff transfer a patient suspected of having the new coronavirus at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong

Reuters

33/46

Pedestrians wear face masks as they walk outside the New Orient Landmark hotel in Macau

AFP via Getty Images

34/46

A Chinese passenger checked for a fever by a health worker at a Beijing railway station

Getty Images

35/46

An employee works to prevent a new coronavirus at Suseo Station in Seoul, South Korea

AP

36/46

A policeman wearing a mask walks past a quarantine notice about the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China at an arrival hall of Haneda airport in Tokyo, Japan

Reuters

37/46

Excavators at the construction site of a new hospital being built to treat patients from a deadly virus outbreak in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province. – China is rushing to build a new hospital in a staggering 10 days to treat patients at the epicentre of a deadly virus outbreak that has stricken hundreds of people, state media reported on January 24. (Photo b

AFP via Getty Images

38/46

An employee sprays disinfectant on a train as a precaution against a new coronavirus at Suseo Station in Seoul, South Korea

AP

39/46

Medical staff carry a box as they walk at the Jinyintan hospital

Reuters

40/46

CDC/Dr Fred Murphy
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have a halo, or crown-like (corona) appearance when viewed under an electron microscope

CDC/Dr Fred Murphy

41/46

The resident wear masks to buy vegetables in the market in Wuhan

Getty Images

42/46

Staff sell masks at a Yifeng Pharmacy in Wuhan

AP

43/46

Masked workers disinfect a passenger throughfare at the Taoyuan International Airport

AFP via Getty Images

44/46

A rescue worker walks past a notice about the virus that has broken out in China

Reuters

45/46

A plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire

PA

46/46

A plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire

PA

1/46

A chartered passenger jet carrying evacuated citizens from China taxis on the runway after landing at the Royal Air Force station RAF Brize Norton in Carterton

AFP via Getty Images

2/46

British nationals evacuated from Wuhan in China amid the novel coronavirus outbreak disembark a chartered passenger jet at the Royal Air Force station RAF Brize Norton in Carterton

AFP via Getty Images

3/46

A plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire

4/46

French citizens arrive and settle aboard of an evacuation plane with destination southeastern France, before departure from Wuhan Airport (WUH), China

AFP via Getty Images

5/46

A police vehicle enters the gates of the Royal Air Force station RAF Brize Norton in Carterton

AFP via Getty Images

6/46

Staff members of a funeral parlour wearing protective suits disinfecting a colleague after they transferred a body at a hospital in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province, during the virus outbreak in the city

AFP via Getty Images

7/46

A chartered passenger jet carrying evacuated citizens from China taxis on the runway after landing at the Royal Air Force station RAF Brize Norton in Carterto

Reuters

8/46

The Costa Smeralda cruise ship of Costa Crociere, carrying around 6,000 passengers, is docked at the Italian port of Civitavecchia after a health alert due to a Chinese couple and a possible link to coronavirus on board, in Civitavecchia, Italy

Reuters

9/46

Base personnel patrol inside a gate at the Royal Air Force station RAF Brize Norton in Carterton

AFP via Getty Images

10/46

A member of staff at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside prepares for a bus carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China

PA

11/46

Police stand at a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge that crosses from Hubei province in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China

REUTERS

12/46

An ambulance carrying a South Korea citizen repatriated from Wuhan, China who has shown flu-like symptoms during in-flight screening for novel coronavirus leaves Gimpo airport

Getty Images

13/46

Coaches enter RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, where a plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China

PA

14/46

Medical staff walk to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases building at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore

AFP via Getty Images

15/46

Passengers wearing face masks are seen on a bus after disembarking from the Costa Smeralda cruise ship, after tests on a woman from Macau with suspected coronavirus came back negative, in Civitavecchia, Italy

Reuters

16/46

Passengers wear face masks as the push their luggage after arriving from a flight at Terminal 5 of London Heathrow Airport

AFP via Getty Images

17/46

Empty racks where face masks are usually sold at a DIY store in west London. Pharmacies are working to boost stocks as demand for face masks in the UK appears to be on the rise amid fears about the coronavirus

PA

18/46

Workers produce masks at the Thai Hospital Product Company Ltd. factory in Bangkok

AFP via Getty Images

19/46

People hoard bottles of alcohol after the Philippine government confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus in the country, in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Reuters

20/46

A man hoards the last few bottles of alcohol left in a pharmacy, after the Philippine government confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus in the country, in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Reuters

21/46

Taking precautions: with fears growing that the coronavirus will spread from China, a health official checks a woman’s temperature on the underground in Beijing

Getty Images

22/46

An empty road is seen in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on January 27, 2020, amid a deadly virus outbreak which began in the city

AFP via Getty Images

23/46

Passengers in the arrivals concourse at Heathrow Terminal 4, London, as the Government’s Cobra committee is meeting in Downing Street to discuss the threat to the UK from coronavirus

PA

24/46

Students wearing masks meditate prior to a lesson at a high school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

AP

25/46

An arrivals board showing a cancelled flight from Wuhan to Heathrow Terminal 4, London, as the Government’s Cobra committee is meeting in Downing Street to discuss the threat to the UK from coronavirus

PA

26/46

Paramilitary police wear face masks as they stand guard at Tiananmen Gate adjacent to Tiananmen Square in Beijing

AP

27/46

Medical staff at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital wear protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus

AFP via Getty Images

28/46

Staff move bio-waste containers past the entrance of the Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China

AP

29/46

Buddhist monks wear masks as they walk near Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodi

AP

30/46

Workers driving excavators at the construction site of a field hospital In Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The builders will complete the 1,000-bed hospital by February 3 to cope with the surge of 2019-nCoV patients in the city

Getty Images

31/46

A woman and a child wearing protective masks walk toward check-in counters at Daxing international airport in Beijing

AFP via Getty Images

32/46

Medical staff transfer a patient suspected of having the new coronavirus at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong

Reuters

33/46

Pedestrians wear face masks as they walk outside the New Orient Landmark hotel in Macau

AFP via Getty Images

34/46

A Chinese passenger checked for a fever by a health worker at a Beijing railway station

Getty Images

35/46

An employee works to prevent a new coronavirus at Suseo Station in Seoul, South Korea

AP

36/46

A policeman wearing a mask walks past a quarantine notice about the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China at an arrival hall of Haneda airport in Tokyo, Japan

Reuters

37/46

Excavators at the construction site of a new hospital being built to treat patients from a deadly virus outbreak in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province. – China is rushing to build a new hospital in a staggering 10 days to treat patients at the epicentre of a deadly virus outbreak that has stricken hundreds of people, state media reported on January 24. (Photo b

AFP via Getty Images

38/46

An employee sprays disinfectant on a train as a precaution against a new coronavirus at Suseo Station in Seoul, South Korea

AP

39/46

Medical staff carry a box as they walk at the Jinyintan hospital

Reuters

40/46

CDC/Dr Fred Murphy
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have a halo, or crown-like (corona) appearance when viewed under an electron microscope

CDC/Dr Fred Murphy

41/46

The resident wear masks to buy vegetables in the market in Wuhan

Getty Images

42/46

Staff sell masks at a Yifeng Pharmacy in Wuhan

AP

43/46

Masked workers disinfect a passenger throughfare at the Taoyuan International Airport

AFP via Getty Images

44/46

A rescue worker walks past a notice about the virus that has broken out in China

Reuters

45/46

A plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire

PA

46/46

A plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire

PA

Mr Bridgeman said: “We tried to get transport to the airport, unfortunately we were unable to find a car.

“She (his wife) phoned the police to see if they could arranging something, but nothing.

“Fortunately in the end the Foreign Office arranged for a car to come pick us up.

Countries and airlines around the world have cancelled flights to and from central China (PA)

“But unfortunately by the time he arrived – because we had some trouble getting him to get to the right spot to pick us up – by the time he was there, we only had about 15 minutes to get to the airport, so we thought ‘it’s too late’ so we just went home.”

Another Briton Michael Pattison told Sky News he was given his travel documents seven minutes before he had to be at the “muster point” 25 miles away.

He added: “I only received the official travel documents seven minutes before the deadline to get to the muster point which was 25 miles away in a city that’s in total lockdown with virtually no transport available.”

Read more

Some Britons had declined to join the repatriation flight after being told any Chinese nationals in their family would be unable to join.

Families had been told that relatives with Chinese passports would be unable to join them after Chinese officials denied them permission to leave the country.

That decision was reversed hours before the plane was due to depart, but some people said they did not have time to get to the airport.

Mr Bridgeman said the FCO had told him that his family might be able to leave the city on another flight.

He added: “The Foreign Office said that they might be able to organise for us to board a different plane from, in their words, one of Britain’s EU partners.”

More about:

|

coronavirus

|

China

|

Foreign And Commonwealth Office