More than 80 Britons evacuated from China over the coronavirus outbreak were today preparing for 14 days in quarantine in Merseyside as toys were delivered.
Passenger Patrick Graham, from Wales, joked that ‘the infected are coming’ and he was landing at RAF Brize Norton for ‘two weeks at Her Majesty’s Pleasure’.
The Britons were travelling 180 miles from the airbase in Oxfordshire to NHS housing at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral where they will remain together for two weeks.
Consoles and toys are brought into the housing at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside today
Barbie dolls are among the toys being brought into the housing at Arrowe Park Hospital today
Food packages are brought into the NHS accommodation at Arrowe Park Hospital today
A cot being moved outside the accommodation at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside today
Mr Graham added on Instagram today: ‘Thank you staff @wamosair for getting us home – they also have to go into a period of quarantine for bringing us home.’
He also shared a screenshot of the news the UK has confirmed two cases of the deadly virus and wrote: ‘Please don’t blame us… we have only just landed.’
And one Twitter user who spotted the Wamos Air Boeing 747 landing tweeted: ‘The Wuhan Clan incoming!! Better seal the windows and put the baby on lockdown.’
Some 83 Britons were on board the Wamos Air Boeing 747, which will later fly on to Spain carrying the remaining 27 passengers – all non-UK nationals.
The British passengers on the evacuation flight – who have mainly been in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province – had to sign a contract agreeing to isolation before they could board the flight, and underwent temperature checks.
Passenger Patrick Graham, from Wales, joked that ‘the infected are coming’ as he landed
British nationals arrive on a Boeing 747 at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire this afternoon
On arrival, they will be taken by bus to Arrowe Park Hospital, where they will be housed in an NHS staff accommodation block with access to the internet.
A Twitter user who saw the plane tweeted: ‘The Wuhan Clan incoming!! Better seal the windows and put the baby on lockdown’
Today, trolleys containing PlayStations, Xboxes and children’s toys such as Barbie doll sets were seen being wheeled into the premises.
Some of the toys were aged one to three years, suggesting families with small children may be kept in isolation.
It is understood that those quarantined will be given fully furnished rooms, food and laundry facilities, while kitchens are available if people wish to self cater.
Any families will be able to stay together and there will be no charge for the accommodation.
A team of medical staff, who will wear protective suits, will closely monitor their condition.
Anyone with suspicious symptoms will be taken to the nearby Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospital, which has a high-level infectious diseases unit.
The quarantine period will give medics time to see if any of the group develop symptoms or test positive for the virus.
They are being isolated for two weeks because this is the maximum time it is thought to take for symptoms to emerge if a person has been infected.
There has been speculation over whether the virus can be transmitted by people showing no symptoms.
Meanwhile today, the first cases of the coronavirus have been diagnosed in the UK, with two people from the same family being treated at a specialist centre.
Items including heaters are removed from the accommodation blocks on the Wirral today
A member of staff at Arrowe Park Hospital works today before the passengers arrive later
Telephone devices arrive at Arrowe Park Hospital as they prepare for the passengers today
Barriers are put up at Arrowe Park Hospital today as water bottles are brought in today
Bedding is unloaded at the accommodation at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside today
Items are removed from the accommodation that is being prepared to house the Britons today
The two patients are currently being treated by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in its specialist Airborne High Consequences Infectious Disease Centre (HCID).
It is understood that they travelled to the UK from China in recent days, had been staying at a hotel in Yorkshire, and are now undergoing treatment at the Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary.
An outbreak investigation team has been formed to trace anyone who has been in contact with the pair to prevent onward transmission.
Professor Sharon Peacock from Public Health England said anyone who has been in contact with the two patients in England should self-isolate for 14 days, and if they develop any symptoms they are advised to call 111 or their GP.
She said while staff are currently working to trace people who have been in contact with the pair, they do not currently have ‘any idea’ of how high that number might be.
Workers install privacy screens at the accommodation block at Arrowe Park Hospital today
Staff at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside today ahead of the British nationals’ arrival
A block of apartments pictured today at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral in Merseyside
The view inside one of the rooms that will be used to quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital
The evacuation flight came after the UK’s four chief medical officers raised the risk level of the illness from low to moderate and the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared an international public health emergency.
Chinese health officials said today that the death toll in the country from the virus had risen to 213, with the number of known cases rising from 7,711 to 9,962.
No deaths have occurred outside China, although cases have been confirmed across at least 23 countries.
The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has now surpassed that of the Sars epidemic, although death rates are currently lower, suggesting it is less deadly.
Many other countries, including Australia, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand have said they plan to quarantine evacuees for two weeks to avoid spread of the virus.