A delayed flight to bring about 200 British nationals back to the UK from coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan has been given the all clear to leave China tonight.
An earlier window for the flight was cancelled after failing to reach an agreement with the Chinese government to fly out of the country.
The flight will leave at 9pm GMT tonight, with arrivals expected back in the UK on Friday.
But on Thursday Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We are pleased to have confirmation from the Chinese authorities that the evacuation flight from Wuhan airport to the UK can depart at 5am local time on Friday 31 January.
“The safety and security of British nationals is our top priority. Our embassy in Beijing and consular teams remain in close contact with British nationals in the region to ensure they have the latest information they need.”
When the passengers do return, they are due to land at RAF Brize Nortonand be transported to former NHS staff accommodation in the north-west of England where they will be put in quarantine for 14 days.
Military medics are flying out to Wuhan to join the repatriation flight, the Ministry of Defence has said.
The coronavirus, which originated in an illegal wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan, has now claimed 170 lives
and infected 7,711 people in China, latest official data showed.
Almost all the deaths have been in Hubei province – of which Wuhan is the capital – where 60 million people are now living under virtual lockdown, staying inside their homes and only venturing out with masks on.
105 cases have been recorded outside China from Japan to America.
The government has warned that it is a matter of “when, not if” the virus will hit UK shores