The UK Foreign Office has issued a warning to all British citizens currently within China to leave the communist nation, as the official death toll of the deadly coronavirus has reached 425, with an additional 20,000 estimated cases.
The British government, which previously advised against all but essential travel to China, has now warned all of the estimated 30,000 Britons currently in China to leave the country if they are able to.
“We now advise British nationals in China to leave the country if they can, to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus,” said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab per the BBC.
“Where there are still British nationals in Hubei province who wish to be evacuated, we will continue to work around the clock to facilitate this,” he added.
“If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be at heightened risk,” Raab warned.
According to the BBC’s China correspondent, Robin Brant, the updated advice from the Foreign Office was “not because we’ve seen a sudden increase in the severity of the outbreak of the virus”, but rather due to increased difficulties in travelling from China and that the Foreign Office is organising its “last flight” evacuation from Wuhan.
Coronavirus: British Airways Suspends Flights to China, UK Will Quarantine Citizens For Two Weeks https://t.co/n8xaofLlrJ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 29, 2020
Last week the UK evacuated 94 citizens, one of whom fell ill on the flight back to the UK from Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak of the coronavirus.
There are currently two confirmed cases of the deadly virus in the UK, a student at the University of York and his mother, both of whom recently travelled from Wuhan.
The UK is still trying to locate 239 people who travelled to the UK from Wuhan before the city was quarantined. The travellers are still believed to be within the incubation period of the virus, which lasts between two and 14 days.
On Monday, 57 people died in China, marking the deadliest day since the virus was discovered, prompting the Chinese Communist Party to admit that there were “shortcomings and difficulties” in its handling of the epidemic.
Coronavirus: 438 Wuhan Travellers ‘Lost’ in The United Kingdom as 11 More Brits are Evacuated https://t.co/NgpsElPQlA
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 3, 2020
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