Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said he is “hopeful” that a chartered plane bringing British nationals back from coronavirus-hit Wuhan in China will leave on Thursday evening.
Speaking at a Policy Exchange event in Westminster, Mr Raab said officials in the Foreign Office had “been working tirelessly”.
“We are hopeful now of doing that this evening. But, of course, this depends on the decisions taken by the Chinese government.
“I spoke to the Chinese foreign minister on Monday. We are working those through and we think – we hope – now that that will happen later this evening.
“I can guarantee and reassure the people who are out there and the families here that we are doing everything we can around the clock to make that happen.”
Passengers will then be taken to an NHS facility in the North West for a quarantine period of 14 days, sources told PA.