After a delay and an anxious wait a second flight evacuating Australians from the coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan has landed in Darwin.
The travellers were to disembark through the RAAF base rather than the main airport terminal and be taken by bus to the disused Manigurr-Ma work camp 30km from Darwin to be monitored for the virus that has killed at least 800 people.
Federal Immigration minister Marise Payne confirmed on Saturday that the Qantas flight had left for Darwin and acknowledged “the cooperative approach of the Chinese Government”.
RELATED: Thousands stranded on cruise ships
RELATED: Massive surge in coronavirus cases
Qantas Flight 6032 had originally been scheduled to leave Wuhan on Friday night but did not get clearance to land from China.
Australian Border Force said there were 266 evacuees on the plane, including 77 children, 11 infants and one “less-than-able” 90-year-old man. Eight on board were students from the Pacific Islands who were allowed on the flight on humanitarian grounds.
With passengers spending a tense extra day in Wuhan, the plane remained in Hong Kong on Saturday before touching down in Wuhan for a 3.15am Sunday departure.
One of the evacuees, a young girl, has been tested for coronavirus after falling ill, but results have not been released.
This was after the government’s first quarantine option of Christmas Island was unable to house further hundreds of people as they wait out the two-week coronavirus incubation period.
Two groups of Australian citizens and permanent residents have been extracted from China to Christmas Island, which lies between Western Australia and Indonesia.
A further 35 will be evacuated on an Air New Zealand flight, although it is unclear whether the smaller number will able to be accommodated on Christmas Island.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said on Saturday the young girl tested was not seriously ill and her symptoms could be “all sorts of things”, he said.
Meanwhile, passengers trapped on the cruise ship Diamond Princess at Yokohama, Japan with coronavirus victims on board including Australians may face delays in disembarking, even after the 14-day quarantine period has expired.
The ship has 3700 passengers on board including 64 who have tested positive to coronavirus; seven of the infected are Australian, while another 219 Australians are asymptomatic so far.
The issue facing health authorities is assessing when each patient became infected, when their incubation period ends and if there are any passengers carrying the virus without symptoms.
Another cruise ship at Hong Kong with coronavirus on board has 16 Australians, none of whom are ill.
AAP reported authorities had just become aware of a third cruise ship, located somewhere between Japan and Guam, affected by coronavirus.
Australia has had 15 confirmed coronavirus cases: five in Queensland, four each in NSW and Victoria and two in South Australia.
The coronavirus — known as 2019-nCoV — has infected 34,963 people, and claimed725 lives, according to the John Hopkins coronavirus tracker.