Australia Working Towards Second Evacuation Flight After Coronavirus Outbreak
Australian diplomats are working with Chinese officials to allow another evacuation flight from Wuhan, as coronavirus continues to spread and take more lives.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says people should not assume further flights would be possible, whether from Wuhan or mainland China.
"DFAT (foreign affairs department) is now in the process of registering our intention to undertake a second chartered flight," he told parliament on Thursday.
More Australian evacuees touched down on Christmas Island on Thursday after being flown out of Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the outbreak.
But the government is already making plans about what to do if the outbreak continues and the quarantine facility set up on Christmas Island reaches its 1200-person capacity.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared a "people's war" against the fast-spreading coronavirus whose impact has been felt around the world.
The death toll in mainland China has jumped by 73 to 563, with more than 28,000 infections also confirmed inside the world's second-largest economy.
Xi, seeking to prevent global panic, said China's strong mobilisation capacity and rich experience in public health would enable it to beat the coronavirus.
"The whole country has responded with all its strength to respond with the most thorough and strict prevention and control measures, starting a people's war for epidemic prevention and control," Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying in a telephone call with Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Thursday.
In a striking image of the epidemic's reach, about 3700 people moored off Japan on the Diamond Princess faced testing and quarantine for at least two weeks on the ship, which has 20 cases, including two Australians.