Australia

Seven Australian evacuees from Japan cruise ship test positive for coronavirus as quarantine ends for Wuhan evacuees

Seven coronavirus cases have now been confirmed among the Australian residents evacuated to the Northern Territory from the Diamond Princess. Source: SBS

Seven cases of coronavirus have now been confirmed among a group of 164 Australians who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The first group of Australians evacuated from China's Wuhan province to a Darwin camp are expected to be released following 14 days in quarantine.

About 266 people will leave the Howard Springs quarantine camp on Sunday, after they were evacuated earlier this month from the epicentre of the coronavirus at Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province.

It comes as the number of coronavirus cases among passengers evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan has risen, with a 57-year old Queensland woman testing positive on Saturday evening.

Seven cases have now been confirmed among the group of 164, who are also being kept at the facility near Darwin after leaving the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama on Thursday.

"This reaffirms the decision we made not just to conduct an airlift (from the cruise ship) but to ensure that these people were in supervised quarantine in a separate area within the Howard Springs facility," federal Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters on Saturday.

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Two people from Victoria tested positive to the virus on Saturday and will be repatriated to their home state's health system, while the Queensland woman will be transported to her home state on a specialised medical retrieval plane tomorrow.

Two other Queensland women aged 54 and 55 who tested positive on Friday night have been flown to a Brisbane hospital for further treatment.

A 78-year-old man from Western Australia was transferred to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth on Friday, while a 24-year-old woman from South Australia has been transferred to Royal Adelaide Hospital.

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The latest cases posed no risk to the Darwin community and strict public health measures remain in place

It brings the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country to 22, including 10 people who have recovered from the illness.

Health authorities have declared the coronavirus contained within the general Australian community.

As a result, some Year 11 and 12 students outside the Hubei province enrolled in Australian schools will be able to apply to get back into the country as long as they are not unwell.

The process to return to Australia comprises of 13 steps, with states and territories to have the final say on whether to let students return.

A similar relaxation of travel restrictions will be considered for university students this week, but no decision has been made yet.

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