Nearly 200 Australians To Be Evacuated From Second Coronavirus Cruise Ship
Australians stranded on a coronavirus-hit cruise ship in Japan are readying for a two-week isolation period at a facility near Darwin.
Just under 200 Australians on the ship are taking up the government's evacuation flight, which is expected to leave Japan early on Thursday morning.
Fifteen have chosen to stay in Japan to be near family who had contracted the deadly disease.
The evacuees have already spent more than two weeks quarantined on the Diamond Princess ship in Yokohama but will begin another 14-day isolation period at the facility to stem the spread of the virus.
They will be screened for symptoms five times before bunkering down at the Howard Springs site.
The number of cases on the ship has reached 542, including 36 Australians.
They are being treated in hospital in Japan.
Australia's deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said while the ship's quarantine methods had worked to protect the rest of Japan, the recent spike in cases could come down to crew falling ill.
"It just demonstrates the infectiousness of this particular virus and how it can spread very easily in a closed setting like a cruise ship," he said in Sydney.
The cruise ship evacuees will be kept separate from hundreds of people already in isolation at the facility, who were evacuated from the Chinese epicentre of the virus at Wuhan.
That group is "due to go home in a few days, all things going well", Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, all of the evacuees on Christmas Island have now left the detention-centre turned-quarantine-facility.
None have tested positive for the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
There have been 15 cases of the virus in Australia, with eight people now recovered and the rest in a stable condition.
There are now more than 75,000 cases worldwide, with 2009 reported deaths.