A jumbo jet carrying more than 100 passengers to the UK from the crisis-hit Chinese city of Wuhan has landed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
Some 83 British citizens trapped in the locked-down city at the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak have been flown to the UK to safety.
They were met by a fleet of at least seven hired coaches which will ferry them to Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral, Merseyside, where they will be isolated for two weeks.
The plane departed Wuhan at 9.45am local time today (1.45am UK time) and its passengers have endured a 12-hour flight under supervision of Army medics.
All had to have health checks before being allowed on the plane and will be constantly monitored for the next two weeks.
The UK first declared its first cases of the coronavirus earlier today and the country is now on high alert for more possible infections.
The plane has touched down at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire carrying more than 100 people from the Chinese city of Wuhan
One of the passengers onboard the flight posted on Instagram as the plane was coming into land. They then followed up the post with the caption: ‘The infected are coming’
Police in hazmat suits are pictured on the runway at Brize Norton today
Police and paramedics are on standby near the plane, which will be carrying more than 100 people who could be infected with the coronavirus
One Twitter user spotted a plane in the sky and posted a caption saying: ‘The Wuhan clan incoming!’ It isn’t clear if it is the Wuhan evacuation flight
After landing, passengers will then be put onto buses which will take them on a three -and-a-half hour drive to accommodation at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral, Merseyside, where they’ll be kept for two weeks.
The group will be housed in a seven-storey NHS staff block with a pool table, TVs and Wi-Fi, including access to outdoor areas.
Anyone with suspicious symptoms will be taken to the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospital.
Passengers were asked to sign contracts agreeing to be quarantined as a condition of getting the flight.
They will be allowed to work during the quarantine but cannot see visitors. Food and drink will be ordered in.
Two weeks is the maximum incubation period of the illness – the duration between someone becoming infected and showing symptoms.
An armed soldier stands guard at RAF Brize Norton this morning
Military personnel are seen guarding the gate at Brize Norton airfield this morning
A fleet of coaches is pictured arriving at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire today. The buses will carry 83 British passengers to an NHS facility in Wirral, Merseyside
The plane was a Boeing 747-400, which can hold up to 475 passengers. Only 110 evacuees were confirmed to be on the flight from Wuhan
Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England said in a statement this morning: ‘We can confirm that two patients in England, who are members of the same family, have tested positive for coronavirus.
‘The patients are receiving specialist NHS care, and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.
‘The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.
‘We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately.
‘We are continuing to work closely with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure we are ready for all eventualities.’
The confirmation comes just hours before the evacuation flight landed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
Scientists had been expecting a case to be diagnosed here for more than a week, since it became clear how widely the virus was spreading.
Evacuees heading back to the UK from China today landed at RAF Brize Norton and will be taken by bus to the Wirral, where they will be kept in isolation for two weeks