Coronavirus quarantined Britons leave hospital two weeks after being evacuated from Wuhan 

Coronavirus quarantined Britons leave hospital two weeks after being evacuated from Wuhan 

The 83 Britons quarantined in an NHS unit on the Wirral over coronavirus fears have started to leave the unit after testing negative for the deadly virus following a 14-day stint in isolation.

Matt Raw, the first evacuee from the Chinese city of Wuhan to be pictured leaving Arrowe Park Hospital, gave photographers a thumbs up as he was let out of a gate guarded by two security guards. 

He said: “Some good fresh air and very, very, very happy that all 83 of us have tested negative for the virus and I guess now back to business as usual.

“It is absolutely lovely to be out and I’ll no doubt be going out for a pint a little bit later.”

He added: “It has not been that bad because they have looked after us so excellently.

“The wonderful, wonderful staff of the NHS, they have really done their very best to make us as comfortable as possible.

“We’re not prisoners. They’re trying to make us feel like, if anything, we’re just on holiday for a couple of weeks, maybe without the swimming pool.”

Mr Raw said he planned to go back to Wuhan, where his wife Ying’s family are, at some point. He said: “This could have happened absolutely anywhere in the world, it’s just unlucky and sad it happened to happen in Wuhan.

“Wuhan is still home from home for me.”

Mr Raw was at Arrowe Park with his wife and his mother, Hazel, 75.

He said his mother, who has dementia, left Arrowe Park earlier on Thursday and had gone to a care home.

He said: “She’s not really totally aware of where she is and what’s happening but she’s certainly enjoying all of the attention to a degree!”

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “As our first group of guests leaves Arrowe Park Hospital, we want to thank them for the highly responsible, pragmatic and stoical way they have played their part in keeping both themselves and others safe. 

“They have set an important example, recognising that over the coming weeks many more of us may need to self-isolate at home for a period to reduce this virus’s spread.

“I particularly also want to thank all the NHS staff who have worked so hard to make their stay as safe and comfortable as possible.

“With about 72 hours’ notice they and subsequently their colleagues in Milton Keynes have mobilised clinical teams, personal support and pastoral care to look after over 200 people returning to this country under extremely trying circumstances.

“They have been hugely helped by the volunteers, residents, schools and those from local councils.

“While the NHS steps up, everyone can continue to play their part by taking simple steps such as washing hands to prevent the spread of infection and calling NHS 111 first before going to the doctors or A&E if they have any concerns about or show symptoms of the virus.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Today marks the end of 14 days of supported isolation for over 80 people in the Wirral.

“This will not have been an easy time for them and I would like to express my gratitude for their bravery and patience.

“Each individual has been given a clean bill of health, and the nation can be reassured that their departure presents no risk to the public.

“I am incredibly proud of every dedicated healthcare professional who has looked after these individuals over the last 14 days – their tireless work in exceptional circumstances is a testament to our steadfast NHS.”

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