Britons evacuated from China coronavirus outbreak region will be quarantined in Wirral hospital

Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside will be the quarantine site for Britons returning from China (Picture: PA/Getty)

Britons being evacuated from the Chinese city at the heart of the coronavirus outbreak will be quarantined at a hospital in the Wirral.

It comes as the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the UK. The Chief Medical officer confirmed on Friday morning that two patients in England have tested positive for the illness.

They are being treated in a high consequence infectious disease unit in Newcastle, Professor Chris Whitty said.

An aircraft carrying 110 passengers, including 83 Britons, left Wuhan for the UK overnight, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said.

The plane, chartered by the FCO, landed at the Brize Norton RAF base in Oxfordshire at about 1.30pm on Friday.

Coaches enter RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, where a plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, is due to arrive on Friday. (Ben Birchall/PA Wire)
Ambulance crews arrive at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire as it prepares for a return flight from Wuhan, China. (PA Images)

It is understood the British passengers will be taken to Arrowe Park Hospital near the village of Upton, Wirral, Merseyside for 14 days of quarantine.

The Liverpool Echo reported that the returning Britons will be housed in a former student accommodation facility at the hospital.

Britons returning from Wuhan, China, will be placed in accommodation at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside (Picture: PA/Getty)
Coaches arrive at RAF Brize Nortonto carry the eighty-three Britons and 27 foreign nationals who were trapped in Wuhan - the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak - who are on a flight back to the UK. (PA Images)

Janelle Holmes, chief executive of Wirral University Hospital, said on Thursday: "Around 100 British citizens will be travelling to the UK from China tomorrow.

“We will be welcoming and housing them in the accommodation block at Arrowe Park Hospital.”

Anyone with suspicious symptoms will be taken to the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospital, which has a high-level infectious diseases unit.

"It's welcome news that our evacuation flight has now left Wuhan," said foreign secretary Dominic Raab.

"We know how distressing the situation has been for those waiting to leave. We have been working round the clock to clear the way for a safe departure.

“The welfare of those trapped and public safety have been our overriding priorities."

This graphic shows coronavirus cases confirmed worldwide, as of 10am on Friday (PA Graphic)

After landing at Brize Norton, the chartered aircraft will continue to Spain, where the 27 non-British nationals on board will be processed by their EU home governments, the FCO said.

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Some Britons with family members who have a Chinese passport decided against flying to the UK over fears they would be separated from their loved ones.

Chris Hill, 38, originally from Washington, Sunderland, lives in Wuhan with his wife Caitlyn Gao and their four-year-old daughter Renee, who are both Chinese nationals.

Because the Chinese government does not recognise dual nationality, it was unclear if Chinese citizens could fly out of Wuhan.

Staff members at a funeral parlour wearing protective suits disinfecting a colleague after they transferred a body at a hospital in Wuhan (Picture: AFP/Getty)

Mr Hill said: "When [the FCO] called me they said they would not be able to say if my family could go with me or not.

"I said, 'Oh okay so you cannot confirm in any way that they could travel with me', and they said, 'We're trying our best but we can't guarantee anything,' so I said, ’No, I'm not going’.”

The death toll from the coronavirus has increased to 213, with 9,692 confirmed cases worldwide, Chinese health officials say.

The figures show an increase of 1,981 cases and 81 deaths since Wednesday.

It has not yet been confirmed where the coronavirus cases in England are being treated.

Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announces the coronavirus is a global emergency at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland (Picture: Reuters)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak, which has spread to more than a dozen countries, a global public health emergency.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries.”

It is feared the coronavirus could spread to countries whose health systems are unable to cope with an outbreak.

He added: "Let me be clear. This declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China.

“On the contrary, WHO continues to have confidence in China's capacity to control the outbreak."

A worker at a Starbucks at Beijing Capital Airport checks a customer's temperature as cases of the coronavirus rose (Picture: Getty)

The WHO said there had been 98 cases of coronavirus in 18 countries outside China but no deaths.

The four chief medical officers of the UK have increased the risk level of coronavirus from low to moderate, adding they "do not think the risk to individuals in the UK has changed" but that the government should "plan for all eventualities".

It follows a study which found the UK is one of the countries at “high-risk” of spread of the coronavirus.

Virgin Atlantic suspended its flights between Britain and China.

The airline said in a statement it would suspend its daily operations between the UK and Shanghai for two weeks from Saturday.

It followed British Airways' decision to suspend flights to and from China, which is in place until at least Monday.

In the US, the state department has advised against all travel to China due to the coronavirus.