UK govt says Wuhan evacuees to be ‘isolated for 14 days’

British citizens evacuated from Wuhan, the epicentre of a deadly virus outbreak, will be isolated for two weeks with “all necessary medical attention”, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Wednesday.

“Anyone who returns from Wuhan will be safely isolated for 14 days, with all necessary medical attention,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We are working hard to get British nationals back from Wuhan,” Hancock added. “Public safety is the top priority.”

Britain is preparing to evacuate hundreds of its citizens from the central Chinese city following in the footsteps of several other countries this week.

Thousands of foreigners are among millions of people stuck in the metropolis as China struggles to get to grips with the spread of a SARS-like virus which has claimed 132 lives and begun to spread around the world.

In London, the Foreign Office, which is coordinating the evacuation of British nationals, declined to give details of the arrangements being made.

Once back on British soil, evacuees will be held at a facility likely on a military base, Britain’s domestic Press Association news agency reported.

The Department of Health and other relevant agencies did not immediately respond to AFP requests for further details on the quarantine arrangements.

Britain on Tuesday evening warned nationals against “all but essential travel” to mainland China, not including Hong Kong and Macau, and against all travel to the worst-hit Hubei province.

On Monday, UK health officials told about 1,500 people who had come to Britain from Wuhan in the last 14 days to “self-isolate” at home.