Australia’s New Wuhan Evacuees Begin Quarantine in Northern Territory

By AAP

After more than 200 evacuees from the virus outbreak epicentre of Wuhan landed in Darwin, hundreds remain stranded overseas.

The Qantas evacuation flight carrying 266 evacuees including 92 children arrived in Australia on Sunday.

After undergoing four health screenings that confirmed all passengers were “physically well,” they were sent to the Manigurr-ma Village at Howard Springs, 30 kilometres from Darwin.

The evacuees were initially expected to be quarantined on Christmas Island, before a decision on Friday to redirect them to Darwin because the island facility was unable to house another couple of hundred people.

There are no further plans at this stage to extricate more Australian citizens and permanent residents back home.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs is in contact with people on the ground in Wuhan and we have certainly brought off the people at greatest risk,” Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said on Sunday.

“They will review that situation and if there were any further flights, there is more capacity at Howard Springs but Christmas Island also may become vacant again.”

Meanwhile, more than 200 Australians remain trapped overseas aboard three cruise ships affected by the virus.

The Diamond Princess remains quarantined at Yokohama in Japan with 3,700 people on board, including 219 Australians who are well, and another seven among the 70 passengers and crew who have tested positive.

“They were lucky to be in Japan because they have a wonderful health system and they are being well looked after,” Murphy told reporters.

“Obviously the Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to others on board the ship.”

Sixteen Australians are among 18 passengers and crew released from quarantine on the World Dream cruise ship in Hong Kong.

The 3,600 passengers and crew members on the World Dream cruise ship in Hong Kong were released from quarantine after Hong Kong authorities gave the all-clear.

The passengers included 16 Australians, none of whom are ill.

Another ship, the Westerdam, has been stranded at sea after the Japanese, Philippines, and South Korean governments refused it permission to dock despite no reported cases of the virus on board.

Westerdam passenger David Holst, from Adelaide, posted on Facebook on Sunday that Guam has also rejected the ship.

“We are 8 days out of Hong Kong and I don’t imagine any country will let us off until we are 14-15 days virus-free,” he wrote.

A Facebook post from the cruise’s company, Holland America Line, claimed they had received preliminary clearance for guest disembarkation from two different ports and expect to announce their new destination by Monday evening.

With agencies