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March 29, 2020
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China blocks UK from airlifting hundreds of Brits trapped in Wuhan

HUNDREDS of Brits are stranded at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak after China blocked attempts to airlift them home.

Officials have told all countries its lockdown will not be lifted for repatriation flights, a Foreign Office source revealed.

 Members of a military medical team head to the hospital in Wuhan as worried Brits in the say they had been left without any information

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Members of a military medical team head to the hospital in Wuhan as worried Brits in the say they had been left without any informationCredit: Alamy Live News
 With the city under quarantine supplies are running low in this Wuhan supermarket

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With the city under quarantine supplies are running low in this Wuhan supermarketCredit: Avalon.red. All rights reserved.

And yesterday worried Brits in the city of Wuhan — the source of the deadly illness — said they had been left without any information.

The Foreign Office has been criticised for its response to the crisis as it emerged the British embassy in Wuhan was closed over the weekend.

The city is under quarantine with air and rail departures suspended and roads closed.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had been in tense negotiations with the Chinese government to send a rescue plane for expats.

A source close to Mr Raab said: “These discussions are very complex. Hopefully an agreement will be reached soon.

“We are keen to get this done as soon as possible, but a number of things need to happen on the ­Chinese side before we can make any firm promises.

 British scientists are racing to develop a vaccine as the crisis worsens in China

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British scientists are racing to develop a vaccine as the crisis worsens in ChinaCredit: AFP or licensors
 People wearing face masks at a metro station in Taipei, Taiwan

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People wearing face masks at a metro station in Taipei, TaiwanCredit: EPA
 Medical staff gather at Zhengzhou East Railway Station in China's Henan province

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Medical staff gather at Zhengzhou East Railway Station in China’s Henan provinceCredit: Alamy Live News
 Preparatory work at a hospital in Wuhan

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Preparatory work at a hospital in WuhanCredit: Alamy Live News
 Members of a military medical team carry supplies to a hospital in Wuhan

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Members of a military medical team carry supplies to a hospital in WuhanCredit: Alamy Live News

“Their position is understandable but we have been very clear that time is of the essence.”

Fears of a UK coronavirus epidemic were growing last night as health chiefs struggled to find hundreds of people who may have been exposed to the virus.

Around 2,000 people have arrived in the UK from Wuhan in the last two weeks. But last night only 51 had been found and tested for the killer bug —– just 2.5 per cent of the “at risk” total.

All were found to be clear of snake flu — full name Wuhan novel coronavirus.

Dr Yvonne Griffiths, 71, a lecturer visiting China on behalf of Birmingham University, said: “Wuhan has changed completely in the last few days.

“Roads are deserted. In the supermarket everybody is wearing a mask. In the hotel, where we are, everyone is wearing a mask.

“We have no news when the airport will re- open. There’s no information coming from any source — so that’s a concern.”

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