Attempts to repatriate British citizens stuck in coronavirus epicentre Wuhan have failed. China has refused to allow countries to fly out citizens locked inside the city. Hundreds of citizens of the United Kingdom are waiting for the Foreign Office to help them return to their homes.

China has put the city of Wuhan under lockdown since the number of cases and deaths have gone up. No vehicles, trains, and flights are allowed to enter or leave the city until the government sends any further notice. While food supplies run low in the city, it is not only the locals who are languishing after the virus started spreading like wildfire.

The virus, suspected to have originated from snake meat, has killed around 56 people and infected over thousands more. The actual number of patients remains unknown as those infected may only start showing signs of the infection days after they catch the disease. In an effort to stop the spread of the disease over the Chinese New Year, Wuhan remained under lockdown.

China Sars-like virus
Map showing countries and territories where cases of the China virus have been confirmed, as of 0700 GMT, January 25 Photo: AFP / John SAEKI

British citizens stuck in Wuhan desperately hope to return to the UK with the help of the Foreign Office. However, China has made it clear that no flights will be going in or out of Wuhan in days to come. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been trying to communicate with the Chinese government to find a way to repatriate British citizens.

Raab stated that he understood the paranoia which prevented China from permitting foreign citizens from leaving. Raab pointed out that even though he understood China's stance, he will continue to negotiate the repatriation cause.

Fears of the virus already reaching the UK have increased as most of the people who have flown in from Wuhan to the UK remain untraceable. In the past few weeks, around 2,000 people entered the UK after taking flights from Wuhan. Out of the thousands of people, only 51 have been tested for the virus, the Sun reported. The other travellers remain in the UK without being medically screened.

It is unknown how long China will keep Wuhan under lockdown.