Coronavirus: Belgian woman on flight from Wuhan with Britons tests positive for deadly virus

A Belgian woman who was on board a flight returning UK citizens from the coronavirus-stricken city of Wuhan has tested positive for the deadly virus, Public Health England has confirmed.

Belgium’s health agency said the woman was one of nine of its citizens to board the British flight back to Europe, which carried passengers from 30 other countries.

Some 11 UK citizens and family members on the flight were then flown on to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

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Of these, 10 continued to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral for a 14-day period of isolation, while Anthony May-Smith was taken to hospital in Oxford to be tested for potential coronavirus.

Nick Phin, National Infection Service deputy director at Public Health England (PHE), said: “PHE has been notified that a Belgian national who shared a flight with repatriated British Nationals has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

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“All of the individuals who were on this flight are currently in supervised isolation and are being monitored for symptoms.”

It comes as Britons in mainland China are urged to leave as the virus continues to claim more lives in the country.

The Foreign Office amended its travel advice after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he expects more cases to be diagnosed in the UK.

Officials said the update was a precautionary measure to prepare in case more commercial airlines stopped flights out of China, or China extended its travel restrictions.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We now advise British nationals in China to leave the country if they can, to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus.

“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.”​

Additional reporting by PA.

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