Christmas Island Evacuees Scheduled To Come Home After Coronavirus Quarantining

More than 200 Australians who have been quarantined on Christmas Island for two weeks waiting to be cleared of any symptoms of the deadly coronavirus are due to head home on Monday.

The federal government, however, is keeping details of their departure under wraps.

The Department of Home Affairs is sticking to the line that the Australian Border Force is making arrangements to transfer those who have been quarantined on Christmas Island once they have been medically cleared.



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An elderly Chinese tourist hospitalised in France has died of the coronavirus, becoming the first fatality in Europe.

"The government will continue to provide routine updates when appropriate," a Home Affairs spokesperson reiterated to AAP on Sunday.

None of those quarantined on Christmas Island have tested positive after being evacuated from the Chinese province of Hubei, the epicentre of the COVID-19 virus.

Medical personnel are seen preparing part of the quarantine zone in the Christmas Island. Image: AAP

Meanwhile, an Australian infectious disease expert has landed in Japan, joining an international team helping authorities with passengers quarantined on the cruise ship Diamond Princess moored off Yokohama.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says he understands the federal government is in discussions regarding the 200 Australians who are on board.



Australian Medical Expert Sent To Quarantined Diamond Princess Cruise Ship

An Australian infectious disease expert is in Japan to help authorities cope with concerns for passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama due to coronavirus.

"We need to put the health of Australians as our absolute priority," Mr Albanese said in Perth.

The US is sending an aircraft to Japan to bring back US passengers on the Diamond Princess, where the most coronavirus infections outside China have occurred.

The Australian embassy in Tokyo emailed citizens aboard the cruise ship to say the federal government was also examining options to assist Australians.

Passangers wearing masks arrive at Sydney airport after landing on a plane from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Image: Getty

The embassy told citizens it understood it was a "very stressful" situation for them and that Australian medical officers were working closely with Japanese authorities to support them.

Meanwhile NSW Health said passengers arriving into Sydney on some cruise ships will be assessed by experts as a precautionary measure.

A risk assessment will be completed for each cruise ship arriving into the harbour city before it berths and then a decision will be made by health authorities whether to disembark passengers.



Coronavirus Is Airborne, Chinese Official Warns

As the death toll increases to more than 900, a Chinese official has warned the deadly respiratory infection can be caught through aerosol transmission.

The federal government last week extended the two-week travel ban from mainland China for a further seven days to prevent the spread of COVID-19, raising concerns among businesses and universities that rely on Chinese visitors and students.

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus believes the outbreak of COVID-19 is evidence the global community is poorly prepared for a medical pandemic.

"For too long, the world has operated on a cycle of panic and neglect," he told a conference in Germany

Image: Getty

"We throw money at an outbreak and when it's over, we forget about it and do nothing to prevent the next one."

In contrast, he said, the world spends billions of dollars preparing for a terrorist attack but relatively little preparing for the attack of a virus which could be far more deadly and far more damaging economically, politically and socially.

Of the 15 coronavirus cases in Australia, six have been cleared and the remaining nine are all stable.

In China, the total number of people infected by the virus has risen to more than 68,500, with the number of deaths now at 1665.