Josh Skarratts, who lives in the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, was hoping to be back in the UK by now.

His name was on a list of more than 200 Britons and foreign nationals who were evacuated out of Wuhan on a plane chartered by the UK government. But the comedy club owner’s hopes of leaving the city this weekend were dashed – because of his clothing, he says.

Here is his account of what happened:

I feel let down and quite a bit gutted to get so close to being on the plane and evacuated – but at the very last moment being rejected because of failing one temperature check.

Josh Skarratts was not allowed to board the second evacuation flight to the UK
Briton blocked from boarding flight in Wuhan

I was taken to the airport by a friend after we got a special pass to be allowed to drive on the roads because without that documentation you can lose your licence.

I managed to get my boarding pass at the airport and then got to the customs area before the authorities thought it was a good idea to get my temperature checked and they took my passport.

Then they put a thermometer underneath my armpits.

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But I was wearing a hoodie and another jacket at the time, which in retrospect was a little bit stupid.

The luggage requirements meant I was able to take 15kg of hand luggage only.

Because it’s quite cold in England now and I wanted to be prepared, I decided to wear both my jackets.

However, my temperature was 37.5C, which authorities deemed was too high for me to fly.

They asked me to sign a form saying I consented to be kept in quarantine in China but I would not sign it as I wanted my temperature to be checked again.

I had three more readings which were 36.8C, 36.6C and 37C – in the normal range for the human body.

But because the authorities in China only take the highest temperature as the basis for their flight decision, they said it was too high for me to be allowed to get on the plane.

I was told by British authorities that my name had been removed from the manifest.

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It’s quite a difficult pill to swallow when you know the exact reason why you weren’t allowed on the plane could have been avoided.

When you come that close to getting out of the danger zone and then at the very last moment you get told you’re not it’s quite heart-wrenching to be honest.

I was telling my family and my friends that I was coming back. I was looking forward to seeing everybody.

But I’m still here – and all because of two jackets.

I hope the next plane out of here goes to Barbados or somewhere else warm because I don’t want to have to wear to jackets!

I was then taken by ambulance back to my apartment, and I asked the doctors in the vehicle if they had been busy.

He said they were not as busy as before, which I think is a good sign.

Image: Mr Skarratts filmed his journey to the airport, where motorways were empty

Now I am back in my apartment waiting for the next chance to get on a plane. I feel fine. I just have a bit of a headache.

Another British national, wearing two jackets, was also not allowed on the flight because of his high temperature and he stayed at my apartment overnight before making his way to his own place a couple of hours drive from Wuhan.

I’m confident that the Foreign Office and the British Embassy will help me and the other British national to get out of Wuhan.

It currently feels like when you’re driving a car you’ve just missed the green light and you’re waiting for the next green light.

Now you’re at the red light right at the front and just waiting for it to go green – but it’s a very long red light.

I’m fairly certain I’m not going to catch the coronavirus because of the precautions that I take.

I was speaking to my father last night and obviously he was quite upset and irate about the situation. He also called the Foreign Office and they assured him that me and the other British national will be the first on the list for any other possible flights.

Passengers exit a plane after landing in the UK from Wuhan, China
Image: The plane has landed at RAF Brize Norton from Wuhan in China

From what we understand there won’t be any other exclusively British flights out of here – but they will try to put us on any other plane out of here whether it be another French one, Filipino one, or South African one.

There’s still quite a lot of foreigners here and a lot of them still want to evacuate.

I gave quite a lot of food supplies away to a friend before I went to the airport so my supplies are quite low but I still have enough rice and pasta for a couple of weeks.

And I am allowed to go to the supermarket.

Josh Skarratts was taken by ambulance back to his apartment
Image: Mr Skarratts was taken by ambulance back to his apartment after being prevented from flying

Employees there are wearing full hazmat suits, checking temperatures of everybody going in and making sure they wash their hands before they go in and then before they come out with hand sanitisers.

When you see that, you do worry a bit – but then you realise they are taking the necessary precautions to help prevent the spread of infection and it’s relieving in a way to see that it’s been taken in such a serious way.

I don’t think the coronavirus is going to break the people of Wuhan. If anything it’s going to make them stronger.

It’s similar to how Manchester dealt with their terrorist attack in 2017 and it will be something that we look at as a dark part of our history but it brought us closer together afterwards and made us stronger.

Although I am able to go outside, a friend of mine has a relative who is not so lucky.

The family member lives in a building where one person has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

So the whole building has been quarantined and only one person from each apartment is allowed to leave and only for food supply runs.

And there’s a doctor that is going to every single apartments every single day to check everybody.

The residents are not allowed to leave without specific permission from the local authorities there – so I imagine it can get pretty serious in that situation.

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