Coronavirus: Lancaster grandmother with respiratory disease trapped in Wuhan City

A British grandmother is trapped in the Chinese city of Wuhan and unable to return home following the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 3:53 pm
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 3:54 pm

Veronica Theobald, 81 from Lancaster, has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and has not left the house where she is staying in over a week for fear of falling ill.

She was visiting her grandson, Kharn Lambert, who has lived in the city for five years, and was due to fly back to England on Monday.

However, her return was cancelled after the city was placed on lockdown.

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A nurse wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in the city, looks at a thermometer at the Wuhan Fifth Hospital in Wuhan (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Lambert, a PE teacher in Wuhan, told the PA news agency: "There is no knowing how long she will have to stay here, and I'm worried about her running out of the medication she needs for her health so I'm in constant contact with the British embassy.

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"She only brought enough medication for her time here plus and an extra week in case of any flight delays etc. But nothing can prepare you for this.

"My family at home are extremely concerned about her, but I'm trying hard to reassure them that I am taking the best care of her as I can."

Excavators at the construction site of a new hospital being built to treat patients from a deadly virus outbreak in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Lambert said the embassy had put them in touch with a doctor who will be following up on his grandmother's health after the weekend.

He said the mood in Wuhan has changed in the last 24 hours, due to the short amount of time residents were given to prepare for the lockdown.

"People are starting to realise the seriousness off the situation.

"Due to the hysteria caused by the lockdown yesterday, it was difficult to get food and any food that was available had been increased in price. However, I went to the supermarket today and the shelves had been restocked."

Two British teachers working in the city also told PA they were unable to return to the city while it remains on lockdown.

Chris Raymond, 28 from Reading, is on holiday in the UK and has been in contact with friends back in Wuhan, where he has lived for three years.

He said: "There is a sense of keep calm and carry on over there at the moment.

"I'm due back on February 14 so I'm hoping that it all blows over by then or at least the airports are open."

Another teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, said he could be forced to return to the UK if the travel ban is not lifted.

"I plan on continuing to travel past my planned return date by a couple of weeks and then if the place is still a no go, go back to the UK and return when I can. It's a pain as all my stuff is in my flat and I'm really sad as I love my job and hope to be back as soon as possible," he said.

"If I hadn't been out the country when I heard about the lockdown - a few hours before it happened - I would have got out the city with all my stuff and come back to the UK."