Eight Britons are detained in NEW ZEALAND after British officials told them to lift ‘a lift’ from Wuhan
Eight Britons evacuated from the coronavirus hit by Wuhan were caught in New Zealand quarantine 12,000 miles after officials told them to hitch a lift on the Auckland-bound flight because they could not guarantee new British repatriation.
The British citizens and six of their relatives were detained together with 184 other passengers and crew members at the Whangaparaoa marine training base after isolation this morning at 5:00 am.
They were smuggled on the Air New Zealand flight on Wednesday after the government refused to disclose whether it would still send an air bridge for British nationals detained in Wuhan.
But in a screeching U-turn, officials announced they were chartering a final flight to repatriate an estimated 165 Britons stranded in the epicenter of the outbreak and the wider province of Hubei.
The eight British in New Zealand will be cleaned and tested for the killer virus before being kept isolated for two weeks while the British government makes arrangements to fly them home.
MailOnline understands that they will be put on a commercial flight to London sometime after February 20 and the cost of their tickets will be paid by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
However, they will not be quarantined when they return to Great Britain – excitingly, Coronavirus can sweep the UK if they unknowingly carry the virus and pass it on to someone on the flight home.
It comes when the death toll from the epidemic has risen to nearly 500 and infections have risen to more than 24,500.
Eight Britons evacuated from Wuhan, affected by coronavirus, are quarantined 12,000 miles away in New Zealand after officials told them to hitch a lift on the Auckland-bound flight because they could not guarantee new British repatriation
They arrived in Auckland at 5 AM this morning on the Air New Zealand flight (pictured) with 190 other passengers and crew
The British subjects, along with 190 other passengers and crew, were sent to the Whangaparaoa naval training base in quarantine after landing at 5 o’clock this morning.
Passengers who arrived at Auckland International Airport on February 5 wore face masks when the news spread that an evacuation aircraft was coming in
The Foreign Ministry yesterday warned all 30,000 British nationals detained in mainland China to return to the UK in a desperate attempt to protect their health as the death toll rose to nearly 500 and infections rose to more than 24,500
The British government is chartering a final flight to bring citizens back from Wuhan to RAF Brize Norton on Sunday morning.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said: ‘We have worked around the clock to help British nationals leave Hubei Province on British, French and New Zealand flights.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is chartering a second and last flight in the UK with room to help all British nationals and their relatives staying in Hubei to leave.
“I encourage all British nationals in Hubei to register with our teams if they want to depart on this flight.”
Last Friday, 83 British citizens were repatriated on a flight from Wuhan that had been arranged by the British government and another 11 British accompanied them on a French flight on Sunday.
At the Auckland airport, New Zealand’s health minister Ashley Bloomfield said no one on the flight had become unwell and no suspect had fallen.
Seven buses transported the nearly 200 passengers and crew to the naval training base, with Mr. Bloomberg telling the local media that they were “excited” and “relieved to be in New Zealand.” About 60 people who had signed up for the flight did not show up, he added.
There were 54 New Zealand citizens on board and 44 permanent residents of New Zealand with Chinese passports.
There were also 35 Australian passengers on the plane – 23 civilians and 12 residents on Chinese passports.
A number of foreigners were also fleeing, mainly from the Pacific, including Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Uzbekistan and the Netherlands. The eight British subjects filled the remaining seats.
Since January 20, nearly 500 people have been killed by the Wuhan corona virus – all in mainland China, except one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong
Almost 25,000 people are infected worldwide, including the UK, the US, France and Australia
Police about to accompany buses carrying passengers from Wuhan flight to Whangaporoa Military Base from Auckland International Airport
Passengers arriving at Auckland International Airport wear face masks in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic
Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said no one on the evacuation flight had become unwell and no suspect had fallen
Revealed: the ‘shambolic’ reaction of the British government to the outbreak so far
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was today accused of leaving British citizens in China to “take care of themselves” by refusing to send more evacuation flights and encouraging expats to find their own way home.
Emily Thornberry, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, said: “From the very beginning of this outbreak, the government reacted in a total mess and now they seem to tell British subjects in China to take care of themselves in terms of getting out of the country.
“How on earth has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared plans and protocols for how these crises are managed?”
It follows a whole series of errors in the last two weeks, including:
Dragging his feet before he charters an airlift
When the epidemic started to spread at the end of January, the US, France and Japan all evacuated hundreds of civilians in chartered planes.
Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Australia and India have all announced plans to save expats before Britain did.
Only on January 30 was the first wave of British subjects flown home.
Only cancel two hours in advance before evacuating
When the vibrating government finally organized the airlift, it gave up the British just two hours in advance before they left.
This made it impossible for some citizens to arrive at the airport on time because Wuhan got stuck and public transport was forbidden.
Expats leave to find their own way to the airport
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not attempted to arrange buses or taxis to transport British citizens to Wuhan airport.
With the city completely closed, this made it impossible for hundreds of Britons in the wider province of Hubei to make the flight.
British nationals told to abandon their loved ones
Desperate expats were told that there were no guarantees that their Chinese partners or children would step into the rescue plane.
This left dozens of families too scared to make the treacherous journey through Wuhan, a vast city of 11 million people.
Bus drivers did not wear masks
Coach riders who picked up the evacuated from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire when they landed from Wuhan were photographed without protective equipment.
It came despite the highly contagious virus that it could spread through a simple cough or sneeze, or by living on inanimate objects such as door handles and chairs.
The photos were even more shocking because doctors were seen in complete hazmat suits right next to the bus drivers.
Hotel where for the first time confirmed business worked normally
The first two patients who confirmed the corona virus in the UK were staying at the Staycity hotel in York.
The budget hotel said it was “left in the dark” by the government, which refused to tell whether its customers were indeed infected with the disease.
The hotel was instructed to ‘work normally’, but to keep the room where the patients remained locked and their belongings in it.
This meant that dozens of ignorant customers remained and touched door knobs, cutlery and countertops treated by the infected couple.
It comes after the British government has warned all 30,000 British nationals living in China to leave the country in a dramatic escalation of its official advice.
The Foreign Ministry is now actively urging people to leave the country in an effort to protect their own health amid fears that the coronavirus crisis will continue to escalate.
Although the US, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan prohibit foreign travelers from China, the UK still allows viruses to hit the country.
It is also recommended that anyone who has traveled from the country affected by viruses in the last two weeks should stay indoors and call NHS 111 if they develop symptoms.
But the announcement led to an immediate setback because all the evacuees outside of Wuhan – the city at the center of the outbreak – came forward, must find their own way, despite the fact that many airlines cancel flights and major cities are closed by authorities.
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth told BBC Breakfast that the government’s response was “irresponsible.”
He said: ‘Yesterday Dominic Raab said that all British subjects in China should find their way home.
“If Dominic Raab says everyone should return to the UK, I fear the government should do more to get those nationals home. You cannot just make those announcements and not offer serious help.
“The government can make plans to get them on flights, they can charter more flights if they think this is important, probably because Mr. Raab has said they should come home.”
When asked whether the government should pay for people returning to the UK, he said: “The Foreign Minister cannot make these statements and support them with any action.”
His comments came after Mr Raab had warned that there would be only one UK-led evacuation flight.
He said that people in Wuhan could instead ride rides from the disaster zone on planes from other countries. Only 100 of 300 British nationals living in Wuhan have flown in so far.
The only two British airlines serving China – British Airways and Virgin Atlantic – have stranded their flights due to the outbreak. Several others continue to operate flights, including Air China, China Southern Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines.
The Foreign Ministry changed his travel advice after Health Minister Matt Hancock said he expects more cases to be diagnosed in the UK and warned that worldwide cases of the disease are doubling every five days.
The announcement also led to allegations that the government is “spreading disease” in the UK because it will not be able to follow thousands of returning Britons when they arrive on commercial flights. There are currently also no plans to quarantine persons returning on normal flights.
Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, said the government’s plans were a “mess” and added, “The first duty of any government is to protect its citizens.”
So far, only two people have been diagnosed on British soil – they are being treated isolated at a hospital in Newcastle.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said Tuesday: “The safety and security of the British people will always be our top priority.
“That’s why we now advise British nationals in China to leave the country if they can, to minimize their risk of being exposed to the virus.
“Where there are still British nationals in Hubei province who want to be evacuated, we will continue to work around the clock to make this possible.”
The improved warning comes after people are still trapped in Hubei province, which is at the center of the outbreak and the vast majority of cases and deaths have been told to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FCO) if they want to come home.
Although the FCO said earlier that it is no longer planning its own flights to repatriating people, civilians can be allowed on missions from other countries.
The lack of serious preparation has caused anger among people in China, at home and even in Parliament.
The new advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not supposed to have been caused by the outbreak getting worse, but by the risk that people will no longer have options when they leave.
The British embassy and consulates in China are moving non-essential personnel out of the country, the BBC reported. The Chinese correspondent, Robin Brant, said this would mean “there are fewer people who can help the British in need.”
Flight sharing between evacuating countries, which appears to be the only remaining option for Brits in Hubei province, has been going on since evacuation began.
What do we know about the Wuhan corona virus?
Someone infected with the Wuhan corona virus can spread it with just a simple cough or sneeze, scientists say.
BRITISH FATHER WHO WAS IN WUHAN TELLS OF HIS JOY ON COME BACK IN BRITTANNIA – EVEN THERE SHE IS IN QUARANTINE
A father trapped in Wuhan with his young family told about his joy of coming back to Britain after being trapped in the abandoned coronavirus city.
Adam Bridgeman, 33, wife Su and their baby Austin were touched last night after they had taken a plane to take them out of the closed city.
Mr. Bridgeman, who lived in China for six years, and his family had gone to a plane arranged by the Foreign Ministry last Friday to get them out of town.
But they could not reach the airport on time. However, they boarded a flight to France yesterday and were then transferred to England.
Adam Bridgeman, 33, wife Su and their baby Austin were touched last night after they took a plane to take them out of the closed city (pictured together)
In quarantine at the Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral, Mr. Bridgeman said: ‘It was a very long journey with several legs.
‘We first had to go to the French consulate, then there was the trip to the airport, then we had to wait for the plane.
“There were many steps to get to where we are now, with each step lasting at least a few hours.”
There were concerns about whether Su, 31, and four-week-old Austin – who has no passport or ID – could travel.
Mr. Bridgeman, who works for a gaming company, said: “I was particularly worried about my son because he is so young.
“Because he has no vaccinations, he is very vulnerable to all kinds of things.”
“We didn’t know very well if we were leaving because I didn’t want to leave my wife.”
He added that authorities had told the family that Beijing was blocking Chinese citizens from leaving during the evacuation attempts.
Regarding his relief, Mr. Bridgeman said: “I don’t know how it happened, but the Chinese government agreed to leave my wife and son on the plane.
It has now been confirmed that at least 490 people have died with the virus and more than 24,000 people have been infected in at least 28 countries and regions. But experts predict that the actual number of people with the disease can be 100,000 or even 350,000 in Wuhan alone, as they warn that in 100 cases it can kill as many as two. This is what we know so far:
What is the Wuhan corona virus?
A corona virus is a type of virus that can cause disease in animals and humans. Viruses break into cells in their host and use them to reproduce themselves and disrupt the normal functions of the body. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word “corona”, which means crown, because they are enveloped by a pointed shell that looks like a royal crown.
The corona virus from Wuhan is one that has never been seen before this outbreak. It is currently called 2019-nCoV and has no more detailed name because so little is known about it.
Dr. Helena Maier of the Pirbright Institute said: “Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different types, including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, and wildlife.
“Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses that are known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild, common cold, but two new coronaviruses have emerged since 2002 that can infect people and lead to more serious illnesses (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Coronaviruses).
“Coronaviruses are known to occasionally jump from one species to another and that has happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known. “
The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where around 11 million people live, after physicians first began to see infections on December 31.
On January 8, 59 suspected cases were reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and registered cases began to rise.
The first person died that week and on January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people were infected, possibly up to 7,000.
Only a week later there had been more than 800 confirmed cases and those same scientists estimate that around 4,000 – possibly 9,700 – had been infected in Wuhan alone. At that time, 26 people had died.
On January 27, more than 2,800 people were infected, 81 had died, and estimates of the total number of cases ranged from 100,000 to 350,000 in Wuhan alone.
On January 29, the number of deaths had risen to 132 and the number was more than 6,000.
Where does the virus come from?
Nobody knows for sure. Coronaviruses generally have a tendency to come from animals – it is thought that similar SARS and MERS viruses originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.
The first cases of the virus in Wuhan came from people who visited or worked in a live animal market in the city, which has since been closed for investigation.
Although the market is officially a fish market, other dead and live animals were sold there, including wolves, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.
Bats are a prime suspect – researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a recent statement: “The natural host of the Wuhan corona virus may be bats … but there may be an unknown intermediate between bats and humans.”
And another scientific journal article has suggested that the virus first infected snakes, which may then have transmitted it to people in the Wuhan market.
Researchers from the University of Beijing analyzed the genes of the corona virus and said they were most similar to viruses known to affect snakes. They said, “Results derived from our evolutionary analysis suggest for the first time that snake is the most likely reservoir for animals in nature for the 2019-nCoV,” in the Journal of Medical Virology.
Until now, the deaths are fairly low. Why do health experts worry so much about it?
Experts say that the international community is worried about the virus because so little is known about it and it seems to be spreading fast.
It is similar to SARS, which has infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in the sense that it is a type of corona virus that infects people’s lungs.
Another cause for concern is that nobody has immunity to the virus because they have never encountered it before. This means that it may cause more damage than viruses we often encounter, such as the flu or a cold.
Professor Peter Horby, professor at Oxford University, spoke during a briefing in January: “New viruses can spread through the population much faster than viruses circulating all the time because we are not immune to them.
EXPECT MORE CASES OF THE KILLER VIRUS, HEALTH MEMORY
Health Minister Matt Hancock said today that he expects more coronavirus cases in the UK and that the peak of the outbreak is far away.
Officials are still trying to track down 239 people who have flown into the UK from Wuhan, the city at the center of China’s escalating crisis.
Nearly 1,500 people flew from Wuhan to the UK between January 10 and January 24 before all flights into and out of the Chinese city were canceled.
Most have been here long enough to fall outside the risk of infection and 200 have already left the UK, but dozens are still being detected by Public Health England.
The SARS-like infection can lurk for up to 14 days in patients without causing symptoms, which means that they can be contagious without being visibly ill.
Scientists say it is possible that people who flew to the UK between January 21 and 24 may become infected but do not know it.
It is not known whether the two confirmed UK patients, both at the Newcastle hospital, who made the flight in January – one of them is a student in York.
During a meeting with German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Tuesday, Mr. Hancock said that the UK is working with other countries to develop a vaccine.
He added: “We have not seen the peak of the corona virus for a long time and we expect more cases in the UK.
“We have a complete plan to treat all those with symptoms and test positive for coronavirus and we are working with international partners to slow down the spread and also to do the research we need to do to find a vaccine. “
“Most seasonal flu viruses have a death rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we are talking about a virus for which we do not fully understand the severity spectrum, but it is possible that the mortality rate can go up to two percent. “
If the death rate is really two percent, it means that two out of every 100 patients who get it will die.
“My feeling is that it’s lower,” Dr. added. Horby. “We probably miss this iceberg of milder things. But that is the current condition in which we find ourselves.
“Two percent of the fatal cases are comparable to the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, so it is a major concern worldwide.”
How does the virus spread?
The disease can spread between people, only through coughing and sneezing, making it a highly contagious infection. And it can also spread before someone has symptoms.
It is believed that it travels in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing and parts of cutlery or utensils are all risky.
It was originally thought that people would catch a market for live animals in the city of Wuhan. But soon cases occurred to people who had never been there, so doctors had to realize that it spread from person to person.
There is now evidence that it can spread the third hand – to someone from a person who has caught it from another person.
What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?
Once someone has contracted the virus, it can take two to 14 days for symptoms to appear, but they can still be contagious during this time.
When and when they get sick, typical symptoms are runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients – at least 97 percent based on available data – will recover without problems or medical assistance.
In a small group of patients, who appear to be mostly elderly or people with long-term illnesses, this can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the inside of the lungs swells and fills with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if not treated, can be fatal and suffocate.
What have genetic tests revealed about the virus?
Scientists in China have registered the genetic sequences of about 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts around the world.
This allows others to study them, develop tests and possibly look into the treatment of the disease they cause.
Research has shown that the coronavirus did not change much – change is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.
Gao Fu, the director general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said yesterday that the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.
This means that efforts to study and possibly control the virus can be made extra difficult because the virus can look different every time scientists analyze it.
More research can show whether the virus first infected a small number of people and then changes and spreads, or whether there are different versions of the virus from animals that have developed separately.
How dangerous is the virus?
The virus has so far killed 490 people out of a total of at least 24,000 officially confirmed cases – a death rate of around two percent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish flu outbreak that killed around 50 million people in 1918.
However, experts say that the actual number of patients is probably considerably higher and therefore the mortality rate is considerably lower. Researchers at Imperial College London estimate that there were 4,000 cases in Wuhan alone until 18 January (up to 9,700) – officially there were only 444 so far. If cases actually occur 100 times more often than the official figures, the virus can do a lot. are less dangerous than is currently assumed.
HOW CORINAAVIRUS SPREAD FROM CHINA
The vast majority of the confirmed infections of the Wuhan coronavirus have been diagnosed in China.
But more than 25 countries or areas outside the mainland have also declared infections:
- Belgium: 1 case, first case February 4
- Spain: 2 case, first case January 31
- Sweden: 1 case, first case January 31
- Russia: 2 cases, first case January 31
- UK: 8 cases, first case January 31
- India: 3 cases, first case January 30
- Philippines: 3 cases, first case January 30
- Italy: 3 cases, first case January 30
- Finland: 1 case, first case January 29
- United Arab Emirates: 7 cases, first case January 29
- Germany: 14 cases, first case January 27
- Sri Lanka: 1 case, first case January 27
- Cambodia: 1 case, first case January 27
- Canada: 7 cases, first case January 25
- Australia: 15 cases, first case January 25
- Malaysia: 18 cases, first case January 25
- France: 11 cases, first case January 24
- Nepal: 1 case, first case January 24
- Vietnam: 14 cases, first case January 24
- Singapore: 43 cases, first case January 23
- Macau: 10 cases, first case January 22
- Hong Kong: 36 cases, first case January 22
- Taiwan: 18 cases, first case January 21
- United States: 12 cases, first case January 20
- south Korea: 27 cases, first case January 20
- Japan: 156 cases, first case January 16
- Thailand: 32 cases, first case January 13
Experts say it is likely that only the most seriously ill patients seek help and are therefore registered – the vast majority will only have mild, cold-like symptoms. For those whose conditions get worse, there is a risk of pneumonia that can destroy the lungs and kill you.
Can the virus be cured?
The Wuhan corona virus cannot be cured at the moment and it is difficult to comprehend.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are excluded. Antiviral drugs can, but the process of understanding a virus and then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.
There is no vaccine for the coronavirus yet and it is unlikely that a vaccine will be developed in time that could be useful in this outbreak for similar reasons as above.
The National Institutes of Health in the US and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this can take a year or more to develop, according to pharmaceutical technology.
Currently, governments and health authorities are working to control the virus and care for patients who are sick and prevent them from infecting other people.
People who contract the disease are quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they are away from the uninfected public.
And airports around the world are implementing screening measures, such as having doctors on site, measuring people’s temperature to monitor fever, and using thermal screening to detect those who may be sick (infection causes an elevated temperature).
However, it can take weeks for the symptoms to appear, so there is only a small chance that patients will be noticed at an airport.
Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?
The outbreak has not yet been officially confirmed as an epidemic or a pandemic. This is probably because, despite global concerns, the number of people confirmed to be infected is still relatively low.
A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the “worldwide spread of a new disease.”
An epidemic is when a disease occurs in a smaller community, such as a single country, region or continent.