Another two people evacuated to Darwin from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for coronavirus, authorities have confirmed on Saturday. This brings the total of Australians who left the ship on Thursday who have the virus up to six.
The figure is expected to rise with another three patients to be screened on Saturday.
The two latest people, who tested positive on Saturday, are from Victoria. They will be repatriated to their home state’s health system.
Meanwhile, the two Queensland women aged 54 and 55 who tested positive on Friday night will be flown to a Brisbane hospital on Saturday for further treatment.
Earlier, two other Australians were confirmed to have contracted coronavirus.
A 78-year-old man from Western Australia was transferred to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth on Friday. His wife was to travel with him but then is now being isolated at home for two weeks.
A 24-year-old woman from South Australia has been transferred to Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Under the evacuation deal, state governments agreed to treat any patients in their home states.
“We will continue to screen every day and to have that very precautionary approach to testing and ensuring that we are picking up early, and isolating early anybody who is positive for COVID-19,” says Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Di Stevens. “We do have three people who are identified overnight that will be screened and tested.”
She said Before the medical transfers they were “reasonably well” with a cough, sore throat, symptoms of a common cold.
There were 170 Australians on the evacuation flight. They will be quarantined at the facility near Darwin for two weeks after leaving the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama.
They are being kept separate from the 266 people who were already in quarantine at Howard Springs, who were evacuated earlier this month from the epicenter of the virus at Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province.
They will leave on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Australia has extended its ban on foreign travelers from China for another week as the number of coronavirus infections and deaths in Hubei province grows.
The ban is due to end on Feb. 29 but is under ongoing consideration from the country’s national security committee of cabinet.