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 majority of people quarantined on Christmas Island flew home on Monday after clearing the 14-day isolation period with no signs of the deadly virus.
Melissa Wang, disembarking in Sydney, said she was "feeling so exhausted it's kind of just a relief".
She said her experience on the island was "really positive" and she was "very surprised by the care of all the teams".
"I was expecting a detention centre, and that's what it was, but did not expect the warmth of the people," Ms Wang told AAP.
In Perth, 10-year-old Elizabeth Taylor told reporters she enjoyed "running around, being free (and) seeing all the crabs" but said there were daily health checks too.
Elizabeth said she mostly played sport, including tennis, and did not have to do schoolwork.
About 35 people remain on the island for another flight on Wednesday.
None of the people will be required to take further tests after they get home, as they were cleared just before they left the island.
Meanwhile, about 200 Australians on a coronavirus-hit cruise ship in Japan have been given the option to be evacuated to an unused workers site near Darwin on Wednesday.
The ship - which has had more than 450 cases confirmed, including at least 16 Australians - has been quarantined at the port of Yokohama for more than two weeks.
But due to the number of recent cases on the ship, they would have to undergo another two-week quarantine period at the Howard Springs facility.
Australia's chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said precautions had to be taken.
"Given there has been recent cases, we cannot be absolutely sure that any of the currently-well people on the ship who are coming home on Wednesday are not carrying the virus," he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison sympathised with the Australians stuck on the ship, saying he understood they would be frustrated at the thought of another two weeks in quarantine.
"It's frustrating and it's unfortunate, but it is absolutely necessary to ensure that we put the measures in place that have been so effective in containing the spread of this virus," he said.
The Australians on board must pass a coronavirus test before they can be brought home, and elderly people will be given priority in the evacuation.
Wednesday's flight will also include New Zealanders, who will be transferred home after landing in Darwin.
There have been 15 cases of COVID-19 in Australia, with eight people now recovered and the rest in a stable condition.
There are now more than 69,200 cases worldwide, with 1670 reported deaths.