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Coronavirus: Evacuees released from two-week quarantine in Milton Keynes | UK News

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More than 100 people flown back to the UK from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in China have been released from quarantine.

The group – which included 10 children and a family of four – spent two weeks at a conference centre in Milton Keynes after being brought back to Britain on a repatriation flight from the city of Wuhan.

All 118 people released on Sunday had tested negative three times for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and pose no risk of infection to the public, NHS England said.

A police van outside the centre in Milton Keynes
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The group of 118 people had been in quarantine in Milton Keynes for two weeks

They were pictured holding rucksacks and suitcases and getting into taxis after departing Kents Hill Park training and conference centre.

Paul Walkinshaw, from Manchester, and his wife Lihong were repatriated following the coronavirus outbreak having been on holiday visiting her parents in the city of Shiyan for Chinese New Year.

Speaking to reporters as he left the quarantine centre, he said: “It feels fantastic to leave although it feels weird not having to wear a mask and gloves in public.

“The first 48 hours were hard when we were confined to our rooms, after that it was fine.”

Coronavirus evacuee Paul Walkinshaw
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Mr Walkinshaw said it was ‘fantastic’ to leave the quarantine centre

The 39-year-old praised “friendly” staff and the local community for their support and said he was looking forward to sleeping in his own bed again.

“The first thing I’m going to do when I get home is sleep in my own bed,” he added.

Another evacuee, whose name was given as Sadiqi, said they had been looked after “brilliantly”.

“It was definitely hard at first (inside the quarantine) but it is just what it is. It was just one of those things,” Sadiqi said.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock commended the group “for their patience and perseverance”.

“All 118 are in good health and pose no risk to the public,” he said.

The conference centre has been professionally cleaned and will be back to business as usual from next week, NHS England said.

It comes as dozens of evacuees from a coronavirus-hit cruise ship spent their first night quarantined at Arrowe Park hospital on the Wirral.

Thirty-two people, who spent more than two weeks trapped on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan, arrived in Merseyside on Saturday evening.



Britons on a coronavirus-hit ship return to the UK



Britons leave virus-hit ship and return to UK

Some of the group – reportedly made up of 30 Britons and two Irish nationals – made gestures from their coaches as they arrived at the Merseyside facility – one forming a heart symbol with her hands and another an OK signal.

All of those who arrived at Arrowe Park tested negative to having COVID-19 before flying back to the UK.

Some of the repatriated passengers made heart gestures from the bus as they arrived at Arrowe Park Hospital
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Some of the repatriated passengers made heart gestures

This is the second batch of evacuees staying in Merseyside after 83 British nationals were released earlier in February. A health official said they now have a “blueprint” for how to handle the new arrivals.

But honeymooner Alan Steele, who is among those staying there with his wife, vented his frustrations with the facilities, complaining things were broken and that the food was cold.

Posting on Facebook on Sunday morning, Mr Steel said “fresh breakfasts turned up…cold”.







Briton who caught COVID-19 calls ship’s quarantine ‘a joke’

It is understood some British nationals who are part of the Diamond Princess crew opted to remain.

Since being kept on board the cruise liner in the port of Yokohama, more than 600 passengers and crew have been infected. Three passengers – all Japanese nationals in their 80s – have died.

British couple David and Sally Abel, from Northamptonshire, who were on the cruise for their 50th wedding anniversary, tested positive for coronavirus and have pneumonia, as relatives complained they had been moved to a “prison-like” hospital in Japan.

David and Sally Abel have been quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Pic: David Abel/Facebook
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David and Sally Abel have been diagnosed with pneumonia

A total of 2,462 people have been killed by the outbreak, mostly in China, and there have been more than 78,000 suspected and confirmed cases.

In a bid to help stop the spread of the virus in the UK, the health service is piloting home testing for where NHS staff, including nurses and paramedics, will visit people in their own homes.

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