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One Of UK's First Coronavirus Evacuees From Wuhan Says He Wishes He'd Missed His Flight

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One Of UK's First Coronavirus Evacuees From Wuhan Says He Wishes He'd Missed His Flight

A man who was among the first UK citizens to be evacuated from Wuhan last year has said he wishes he'd missed his flight home.

Matt Raw, from Cheshire, and his wife and mother were among a group of 83 Brits who boarded a flight out of the Chinese city and back to RAF Brize Norton on 31 January 2020.

Initially, UK authorities stated only British nationals were allowed to board the flights out, and Mr Raw had planned to stay in China to be with his wife - a Chinese citizen - and help build the emergency hospitals.

However, just hours before the plane was set to depart, it was announced that family members with Chinese passports would also be allowed to join them, and he decided to return to Cheshire.

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However, the 39-year-old has now said that he feels 'duped' by the UK government, who said that they would be 'safe'.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Raw said: "They lied to us. We're being told to get out of Wuhan, 'come back to England, you'll be safe here'.

Matt Raw says he wished he'd stayed in Wuhan. Credit: PA
Matt Raw says he wished he'd stayed in Wuhan. Credit: PA

"We would have been safer and much more freer if we stayed in China.

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"They tackled it short and sharp and locked down the cities and it was the right thing to do."

And Mr Raw says that as well as the hardship of being confined to their home, he and his family have received a huge amount of abuse from people who believe the first repatriation flights were responsible for the spread of Covid in the UK.

He said: "It is heartbreaking that people actually think that. We were the ones who told the government their original plan [for us] to make our own way home to self-isolate after arriving was not on.

"We didn't want to bring it to England. None of us wanted that.

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"We have done everything we possibly can - we've had one outing this year."

Mr Raw was one of the first Brits to make it out of Wuhan. Credit: PA
Mr Raw was one of the first Brits to make it out of Wuhan. Credit: PA

Mr Raw says he is now unable to return to Wuhan as his mother has dementia and the strict quarantine rules introduced in China would be too difficult for her.

But while he considers himself one of the 'lucky ones' from the repatriation flights, with others telling him they have been left bankrupt, Mr Raw says he regrets having returned.

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He said: "In Wuhan, it would have been uncomfortable in our small apartment for two or three months, but then they got rid of the virus and life has returned to normal.

"I wish I'd stayed in bed and gone to help build that hospital.

"Here, we have my little house and my little fish pond in the Cheshire countryside, but we're trapped here.

"It's still our prison."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: covid, World News, Coronavirus, China, Health, Covid-19

Dominic Smithers
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