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'My mum was almost spat at' - British woman quarantined in Milton Keynes says mum was victim of racism

A British woman has spoken about what it is like to be quarantined in Milton Keynes - while her mother faces racism back home in London.

Lavender Au was one of 95 UK nationals brought back from China at the weekend in the government's second evacuation flight from Wuhan since the coronavirus epidemic began.

Since then, she has been stuck in a conference hotel room awaiting the results of swabs taken from each of those staying there.

Milton Keynes Hospital today confirmed everyone has tested negative for coronavirus but further tests will be taken throughout the group's 14-day quarantine period.

It means Lavender, who has lived in Beijing for the last four years and had been staying in Hubei province since the end of January, can now venture out of her room, but will not be able to leave Kents Hill Park Hotel for another 10 days.

Lavender missed the first evacuation flight from Wuhan after she was given just two hours' notice and could not get through road blockades in time.

The tech journalist described quarantine as "boring" but said she was grateful to be back home in the UK - where she knows NHS staff will be well equipped to deal with the virus if she develops it.

If I was in China, I'd definitely be more worried as there are reports that medical supplies are short. Now I'm back in the UK I have every confidence that, if I do have the virus, I would be able to recover."

– Lavender Au
Lavender Au is in quarantine in Milton Keynes Credit: ITV News Anglia

But while she now feels less concerned about her own fate - she remains worried about her mother.

Lavender's parents emigrated from Hong Kong to the UK in the 1970s. She was born and grew up in Britain.

While she has been in quarantine, her mother has faced racism because of fear about the coronavirus outbreak.

"She had a guy almost spit on her in China Town. That was really distressing for me to hear.

"I think at the time she didn't really know what to do. She walked away. She didn't respond to the man in question.

"When things like this happen, people don't know what to say in the moment. It's only in retrospect we can think about how we should have responded."

– Lavender Au

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