Greater than 200 individuals stranded on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan by the coronavirus outbreak might be flown to the Northern Territory, the place they need to stay in quarantine for an extra 14 days.
Scott Morrison mentioned on Monday 209 Australians nonetheless aboard the cruise ship, in quarantine in Yokohama since three February, when circumstances of Covid-19 have been found on board, can be delivered to Australia on a Qantas constitution flight on Wednesday.
The evacuees might be taken to the previous building employees’ village at Howard Springs, outdoors Darwin, the place they may stay in quarantine for an extra 14 days. About 150 of the Australians on Diamond Princess are over the age of 60.
“I perceive that those that have been onboard will really feel very annoyed about this as effectively their relations,” Morrison mentioned. “However our first duty is that we’ve got to guard the well being and security of Australians in Australia.”
The camp already homes greater than 200 Australian evacuees brought from Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak, on a Qantas flight on 9 February. They’d be saved separate from the brand new arrivals, mentioned Prof Dianne Stephens, the deputy chief well being officer of the Northern Territory.
“We will quarantine the 2 teams and have them not mixing in any respect,” Stephens mentioned at a later press convention.
In the meantime the primary group of Australians evacuated from Wuhan, who have been taken to Christmas Island, have accomplished their quarantine and have been being returned to the Australian mainland on Monday. None have examined constructive to the coronavirus.
One other group of 35 who arrived on the island later, after being evacuated on an Air New Zealand flight that travelled via Auckland, should stay to complete their 14 days in quarantine later this week.
Australia’s chief medical officer, Prof Brendan Murphy, acknowledged that the individuals on board the cruise ship had already been in quarantine for 12 days and had “achieved all the things that they’ve been requested to do”.
The additional two weeks of quarantine was required attributable to uncertainty about how the virus was spreading on board the ship, Murphy mentioned.
“We’re not fairly certain why there have been ongoing infections. However given there have been latest circumstances, we can’t be completely certain that any of the at present effectively individuals on the ship who’re coming residence on Wednesday will not be carrying the virus,” Murphy mentioned.
Of greater than three,000 individuals on the Diamond Princess there have been 355 confirmed circumstances of Covid-19, together with greater than 20 Australians, who’re being handled in Japan.
Anybody from the ship who was not on the Qantas flight can be refused entry in the event that they sought to enter Australia inside the subsequent 14 days, no matter nationality, Morrison mentioned.
Murphy attributed the low variety of coronavirus circumstances in Australia to the effectivity of the containment methods the federal government has put in place.
“In case you are a passenger on the ship and also you need to come again to Australia, your solely choice is to get on the flight,” Murphy mentioned.
Morrison additionally confirmed that there have been Australians on the MS Westerdam, a cruise ship that arrived in Cambodia on Friday, after a passenger was confirmed to have the virus. Thirty-nine of these Australian passengers are in Phnom Penh, the place they’ve been supplied with lodging by the Cambodian authorities and are being screened for the virus.
Ten Australians have remained on board the ship, together with one other 200 passengers.