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Terrified BA crew held in Covid ‘concentration camp’ by China sparking diplomatic row

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BRITISH Airways cabin crew are at the centre of a diplomatic row after being confined to a quarantine “prison” for 14 days in Hong Kong.

The 13 employees were marched from their hotel and taken to a compound after one stewardess tested positive for Covid-19.

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She was confined to hospital and a pal said: “She has not eaten since being on the plane and we are worried for her.

“They brought her only bread and water.”

The pilots on Monday’s flight from Heathrow were deemed not at risk and returned to London.

BA confirmed last night it was in talks with the British consulate over its staff in the Chinese former British colony.

British diplomats and airline bosses are asking China to allow the crew to return to the UK and quarantine here.

The chaos was sparked after a female crew member who tested positive on arrival in Hong Kong, was reportedly locked in isolation in a hospital room in Hong Kong at the insistence of Chinese authorities.

The rest of her crew – who had been working on Flight BA31 – were forced to self-isolate, and were allegedly not supplied keys to the basic rooms which one stewardess described as being like “a literal concentration camp”.

Chinese rules say international crew who test positive for Covid on arrival must stay in a hospital room in case they develop symptoms.

A friend said: “She is locked in with CCTV watching her. She’s fuming and scared for her life.

“She tested positive for Covid but has a normal temperature and has no symptoms. She feels fine.”

Footage showed “scared” stewardesses in masks being processed by uniformed staff in Hong Kong.

A memo received by pilots’ union Balpa said the “vile” compound the crew are in has “dangerous electrical wiring and blocked fire escapes”.

The report, seen by The Sun, also warned of China flights: “Crew members face a mandatory Covid test on arrival.

“If positive, you will be confined to your hotel room for a further 14 days, with no exercise or fresh air, limited catering and WiFi that doesn’t work.”

Footage shared to social media by Ellie Freeman, a stewardess currently confined to the “prison-like” isolation centre, shows the basic bedrooms allocated to staff equipped with a tiny bathroom housing a shower head and a plastic tub for bathing.

Speaking to The Sun Online Ellie said she was “so scared,” after lamenting she could feel a “breakdown” coming on to pals on social media.

In a rant on Snapchat she told how she had been given just 30 minutes notice to pack essentials before crew were carted off to “a literal concentration camp”.

Staff were fed cups of noodles and crackers and had to select their fortnight’s worth of meals from a grim menu featuring mainly boiled eggs and vegetables.

The young BA employee also revealed how cheeky China officials tried to charge her $60 HK – £6 – for a single sanitary towel. 

British Airways bosses have engaged with the British consulate in Hong Kong, but no visitors have been allowed in to see the crew.

Airline executives have arranged for toiletries and pyjamas to be sent to their stricken staff – members of BA’s younger and inexperienced ‘mixed fleet’ crew.

China operates a no-nonsense attitude to Covid-19 checks amid fears the disease was born in a testing laboratory in Wuhan.

British Airways told The Sun: “We are in regular contact with our crew who are quarantining in line with local Covid regulations, and providing extra supplies to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

“We work closely with governments in every country we fly to, and will always put the safety and wellbeing of our teams and customers at the heart of everything we do.”

The Foreign Office added: “Our staff are in direct contact with members of a group of British Airways crew in Hong Kong, and are in touch with BA and the local authorities.”

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