‘We’re free’: Dozens held in coronavirus quarantine go home
The Britons quarantined for two weeks over coronavirus fears have told of their jubilation at being able to go home.
Dozens of Britons were rescued from the Chinese city of Wuhan and placed in quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus.
Some 83 people are now being allowed to return home after being held at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside.
All of the group have tested negative for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Teacher Kharn Lambert, who had been held in quarantine along with his grandmother, told Kay [email protected] the pair were excited to be packing for home.
"Everybody gets excited by packing to go on holiday but this was extra excitement. I can't even describe it. It was jubilation, it was just fanatical," he said.
The teacher said his grandmother is "doing absolutely fantastic" and is "looking forward to getting a haircut".
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Mr Lambert had missed his sister's 21st birthday and his other grandmother's 80th birthday while in quarantine – but said he would be celebrating over the weekend instead.
He continued: "I wasn't supposed to be home at this time of year so I'm just looking forward to seeing family and friends.
"I can't wait to see the back of the door but I've made a lot of friends here. I've known a lot of people that were already here but I've made a lot of good friends and I'm going to keep in contact with them."
As for returning to Wuhan, Mr Lambert says he does not expect to be able to go back for another four to six months.
Here's more of the latest coronavirus developments:
- A total of 242 people died from COVID-19 in a single day on Wednesday, marking the steepest rise since the pathogen was identified in December.
- More than 14,800 new cases have been reported in China's Hubei province. The region's health commission says 33,693 people are still being treated in hospital, with 5,647 in a critical condition.
- The first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in London, bringing the total number of patients in the UK to nine.
- Steve Walsh, the British businessman linked to a number of coronavirus cases, has been given the all-clear and discharged from hospital.
- A further 44 people on board the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, which is docked in Japan, have tested positive for COVID-19.
Matt Raw, 38, shouted "We're free… and the sun's shining" as he left isolation with the 82 others.
"I would say that 99.9% of us, if not 100% of us, are really happy to have been here. We're very grateful to have been here," he said.
"The last thing that any one of us would have wanted is to have passed that virus on, if we were infected, to pass it on to somebody else.
"You have to live with that. If somebody does get sick from it and dies we'd have to live with that knowledge for the rest of our lives and of course that's not who we are."