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Woman Breaks Out Of Coronavirus Quarantine, Posts Escape On Instagram

A Russian court has ordered a woman to be returned to a quarantine facility as a precaution against coronavirus, after she staged an elaborate escape and said she was being kept against her will.

Alla Ilyina was quarantined at St Petersburg's Botkin Hospital for Infectious Diseases after she reported having a sore throat following a trip last month to China.

Ilyina described on Instagram how she had short-circuited an electronic lock on her door in order to escape and that she had not been allowed to leave despite doctors giving her a clean bill of health.

St Petersburg resident Alla Ilyina (R), who fled the quarantine area at Botkin Infectious Diseases Hospital upon her return from China. (Image: Getty)

The escape prompted St Petersburg's chief sanitary doctor to sue Ilyina for flouting quarantine rules and jeopardising public health.

"Ilyina is subject to forced hospitalisation," St Petersburg's Petrogradsky District Court said, adding that her hearing had taken place in a courtroom with a germicidal lamp.

Her lawyer, Vitaly Cherkasov, said she would appeal the verdict.

Cherkasov told Reuters that Ilyina would need three negative tests for the coronavirus before she could be released.

Meanwhile, more than 300 American cruise liner passengers, including 14 who tested positive for coronavirus, have been flown home to military bases in the United States after two weeks under quarantine off Japan.

World

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Japan Confirms 99 More Coronavirus Cases On Cruise Ship, Total Now 454

Japanese officials have confirmed 99 more people infected by the new virus aboard the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, bringing the total to 454, the Health Ministry says.

National

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Aussies Finally Home After 14-Day Christmas Island Coronavirus Quarantine

Most of the Australians quarantined on Christmas Island because of the coronavirus scare will finally wake up in the comfort of their own homes, as about 200 others stranded on a cruise ship prepare to evacuate.

The cruise ship Diamond Princess, which has by far the largest cluster of cases outside China, with more than 400, has become the biggest test so far of other countries' ability to contain an outbreak that has killed 1772 people in China and five elsewhere.

A ground crew in anti-contamination suits met the chartered jet that touched down at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas, and passengers could be seen climbing down the stairs wearing face masks in the pre-dawn mist.

Another flight landed at Travis Air Force Base in California hours earlier. All the passengers were taken into a two-week quarantine.

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced an evacuation of Australians from the Diamond Princess.

A total of 454 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus on the Diamond Princess. Image: AAP

More than 200 Australians will be flown home on Wednesday, and will face a further 14 days of quarantine at a former workers' village outside Darwin.

Across mainland China, the total number of coronavirus cases rose by 2051 to 70,635, according to the World Health Organisation.

Fewer than 700 cases have been reported in other countries, and even within China the epidemic is affecting "a very tiny, tiny, tiny proportion of people", Ryan said.

China has responded to the COVID-19 virus by locking down Hubei's provincial capital Wuhan, a megacity of 11 million people, and imposing restrictions in a number of other cities.