A FAMILY at risk of being torn apart after they were caught up in the centre of the Coronavirus outbreak in China have spoken of their relief at getting a seat on the flight home.

Jeff Siddle, wife Sindy and nine-year-old daughter Jasmine, from Prudhoe, returned to the UK on Sunday from a holiday with family near Wuhan and are now in quarantine at an NHS facility on the Wirral in Merseyside.

Despite the risks, the family had resolved to stay in China after the Chinese Government said Sindy was not allowed to leave the country because she had a Chinese passport.

Speaking to the Courant from the quarantine facility, Jeff said: “We hoped early on that there would be a change of heart to let Sindy come with us and we were banking on that coming through, but there was no change.

“I said I don’t want to split my family up, and said Jasmine and I wouldn’t go.

“We resigned to the fact that we were here for the long haul and unpacked our bags.”

But the family stayed in contact with the Foreign Office in England hoping to be able to return home together and, at the weekend, Sindy received approval from the Chinese Government to travel.

“We don’t know exactly what made the difference for them to let Sindy come,” Jeff added.

The family then travelled around 200 miles to Wuhan airport. Jeff said: “Our taxi driver was an absolute hero, he just wanted to help us out.

“The journey was crazy, and like something out of a movie. There were checkpoints everywhere and people checking our health condition all the time.”

The British Government prioritised evacuating any British citizens who had travelled through the city within the past month.

News of the Coronavirus outbreak meant the family didn’t leave the house in the village of Hang To for five days.

Jeff added: “We doubted whether we were safer staying in the village or returning home.”

Now in the quarantine facility, the family were able to go outside for the first time on Wednesday. “We’re completely isolated, but the staff are doing a good job,” Jeff said.

Jeff’s father, Les Siddle said he and his wife Marjorie were relived the family are back on UK soil.

He said: “It’s not going to be very easy for them for the next two weeks, but they have to be happy that they are all together and safe.”

The family are now hoping to fund-raise to send medical supplies to China.