Coronavirus: Quarantined Brits sent cakes, gifts and support

By Paul Burnell & Tom Mullen
BBC News

  • Published
A convoy of coaches carrying British evacuees from Wuhan travelImage source, Leon Neal/Getty Images
Image caption,
Ninety-four British nationals were moved to a block at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral

Gifts of cake, flowers, wine and toys have been sent in for the British nationals quarantined amid the coronavirus outbreak.

They may be confined to an NHS staff accommodation block in Wirral, but the 94 patients have received the warmest of welcomes after being flown back from virus-hit Wuhan.

A nearby school has been set up as a support centre for relatives and a Facebook forum is giving those staying at the block an extra window to the outside world.

"I just had to do my bit," said Lisa Houghton, who sent in a pile of toys and games for children to play with.

"I couldn't possibly throw all these games and toys away or take them to a charity shop when there are children in isolation."

The group on Facebook is filled with similar gestures and sentiments.

After word began circulating that one of the patients was due to celebrate a birthday, a box of handmade cupcakes was delivered.

Image source, Kate Ashton/Lisa Houghton
Image caption,
Toys and games have been donated to help keep the children occupied during their time in quarantine

Another well-wisher sent in a box of Play-Doh to help keep the children amused during their planned 14 days of quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital.

Emma Davies said: "We have taken lots of things including some wine. I think if I had been through what they've been through I would want a drink."

Media caption,

Matt Raw, who was flown out of Wuhan, shows the BBC his living quarters at Arrowe Park Hospital

Meanwhile, sandwiches and cups of tea have been laid out at the support centre set up by the local council for visiting friends and family.

Volunteer Myrtle Lacey said: "Everyone wants to help. That's the kind of community spirit we have. We will be offering tea, coffee, sandwiches and a very warm Wirral welcome."

Image caption,
A nearby school has been set up as a support centre for relatives

Gale Osborne, an emergency response officer from the Red Cross, said: "We've got volunteers from all over the region, from Preston to Knutsford.

"If we can't help, we will know someone who can. We are here for as long as we are needed."

Image source, Facebook
Image caption,
A gift of cupcakes was sent into the quarantine centre for somebody's birthday

In another act of kindness, a council manager hand-delivered a birthday ring for a couple in the quarantine centre.

Matt Raw ordered a ring for his wife Ying's birthday from a jewellers in Cheshire, while they are confined at Wirral's Arrowe Park Hospital.

Wirral Council's David Armstrong then picked it up and brought it to the hospital.

Image caption,
Gale Osborne is among the volunteers on hand to advise friends and relatives of the quarantined patients

Wirral residents said they were pleased people were doing as much as they could to make the evacuees comfortable.

Jim Wier said: "When you think about what has been reported about this disease, it is quite a shock that people are here in quarantine, but they are in the best place.

"The hospital staff are excellent. The nurses have a great sense of humour - they will be cheered up."

Image caption,
Wirral resident Jim Weir said the patients were in "the best place"

Others sounded a note of alarm at the prospect of hosting potential carriers of the coronavirus so close to home.

Mary Lorenzo, from Liverpool, said: "I was a little bit worried because my mother-in-law has been a patient at Arrowe Park since Christmas.

"She is on the mend but it is still a concern. I understand these people have to go somewhere but I just wish it was somewhere else."

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