BA suspends flights to and from mainland China
Britons on Wuhan flights to be quarantined
London, January 29, 2020 (BBC): Hundreds of British citizens being flown back to the UK from Wuhan on Thursday will be put in quarantine for two weeks.
It comes as British Airways suspends all direct flights to and from mainland China because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Australia, Japan, the US and EU nations are also repatriating citizens.
The virus has caused more than 130 deaths, spreading across China and to at least 16 other countries.
The UK government plans to fly 200 British citizens out from Wuhan, the centre of the new coronavirus outbreak, on Thursday.
BBC health editor Hugh Pym said that Health Secretary Matt Hancock has instructed officials to put them in quarantine for two weeks – possibly at a UK military facility.
Sources told the BBC the returning Britons will be given the best possible medical care and advice.
Those returning from other parts of China will not be affected, but have been advised to “self-isolate” for 14 days.
Australia plans to quarantine its 600 returning citizens for two weeks on Christmas Island – some 2,000km (1,200 miles) from the mainland.
British Airways, which operates daily flights to Shanghai and Beijing from Heathrow, announced the suspension of flights to and from mainland China “with immediate effect” until 31 January while it assesses the situation.
A statement said: “We apologise to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority.”
Other airlines, including United Airlines, Air Canada and Cathay Pacific Airways, have already cancelled some flights to China.