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Irishman who fled coronavirus-hit Wuhan enjoyed playing poker during quarantine

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Kildare teacher Ben Kavanagh flew to the UK from Wuhan

Kildare teacher Ben Kavanagh flew to the UK from Wuhan

Kildare teacher Ben Kavanagh flew to the UK from Wuhan

An Irish teacher who was among a group evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan two weeks ago said his period in quarantine in UK has passed quickly, helped by pastimes such as playing poker.

Ben Kavanagh, who is from Kildare, was among three Irish people who were confined to their apartments who availed of an RAF rescue flight.

Although they did not have the virus they agreed to go into quarantine for fourteen days in an NHS accommodation block near Arrowe Park hospital in Merseyside.

He said yesterday he expects to be free to leave this week and he has enjoyed his time there with over eighty others.

They played poker, were well fed and had access to the internet which allowed him send English assignments back to his school in China.

“It was less isolating than being in my apartment in Wuhan, “ he told RTE radio.

“Every other night we were playing poker.”

Asked about reports that one of the people tried to leave he suggested this was “fake news.”

People were anxious to stay in quarantine and stay healthy, he added.

He was glad of the chance to go into quarantine because it meant he was no risk after he returned.

If somebody who may have been exposed to the virus is clear within fourteen days it means they did not contract it.

He hopes to return home and see family and friends.

He is unclear when he will be able to go back to China but he fully intends to return there when he gets the go ahead.

The group were particularly well looked after with donations of clothes and he said he has an abundance of t-shirts and tracksuits.

Online Editors