BRITONS in mainland China have been urged to leave as coronavirus continues to claim more lives in the country.
It is not known how many British nationals wish to return to the UK — but the last flights out of virus epicentre Wuhan are expected to leave this week.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said: ‘We now advise British nationals to leave the country if they can.’ He said work would continue ‘around the clock’ to evacuate people in Hubei province, where the virus originated.
Commercial flights are available across China, except in Hubei, the foreign office said. Mr Raab told MPs the UK was allocated 14 seats on an Air New Zealand fight out of China yesterday.
The Foreign Office updated its travel advice after health secretary Matt Hancock said he expects more cases to be diagnosed in the UK.
A Belgian woman who has tested positive for coronavirus was on the French flight that brought back 11 UK citizens from China on Sunday, it emerged. Ten are quarantined at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral while one was taken to hospital in Oxford for coronavirus tests.
Meanwhile, a York university student who is being treated in Newcastle for the virus along with a relative, lived in student accommodation, it was confirmed. The university assured students they ‘are not at risk and no further precautionary measures are necessary’.
A cruise ship with 3,700 passengers has been quarantined off Yokohama, Japan, after a passenger tested positive for the virus. China’s death toll has risen to 425, with 20,438 infected.
■ A CHINESE student has been assaulted for wearing a surgical mask in a ‘racist’ attack in Sheffield, community leaders said. The woman had put on the mask to protect against the coronavirus spreading across the world. A group of three people pushed her, asking why she was wearing it and ‘scaring’ her, said the city’s Chinese Community Centre. Local property boss Jerry Cheung said they had wanted an excuse to be ‘xenophobic and racist’.