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First Coronavirus Evacuees From Wuhan Land On Christmas Island

The first group of Australian citizens evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan have touched down on Christmas Island.

The charter flight landed about 1am AEST after departing from Western Australia's RAAF Base Learmonth, near Exmouth, about 9pm.

Seventy-two people were on board the first of four charter flights expected to take more than 240 evacuees to the Indian Ocean island.

It is understood the second charter flight is due to land on Christmas any moment.

All passengers had been evacuated from Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus, on a Qantas flight that arrived at the Learmonth base about 4pm local time on Monday.

They were met by army and medics who escorted them to buses.

Evacuees were made to wear surgical masks on board, including young children.

They are to remain on the island for at least 14 days.

Of the 243 passengers, five are younger than two years old while 89 are younger than 16.

National

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Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said the plan was for passengers to be isolated in small family groups on Christmas Island.

"There won't be a full mingling," he said in Canberra on Monday.

"If someone does get unwell their family might have to start again for 14 days but we wouldn't want to expose the whole group to that."

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the government would "consider what might be necessary" when asked if a second flight would be organised from Wuhan.

There have been 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia, and more than 17,000 cases and 360 deaths globally.

On Saturday the Federal Government declared foreign travellers who left or passed through China will be denied entry to Australia.

However, Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families, dependents, legal guardians and spouses, are exempt from the strict measures.

More to come.