Australia to Evacuate 200 From Coronavirus-Plagued Ship in Japan

Australia will on Wednesday use a chartered flight to evacuate about 200 citizens and permanent residents who have been stranded on the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

Once they arrive in Darwin via the Qantas Airways Ltd. flight, they will face a further quarantine period of 14 days at the Howard Springs facility, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.

“I understand that those who were on-board will feel very frustrated about” being quarantined for a further 14 days, Morrison said. “But our first responsibility is that we have to protect the health and safety of Australians in Australia today.”

Australia has already conducted two chartered flights to evacuate citizens and permanent residents from Wuhan, where they have been quarantined in either an asylum-seeker detention center on Christmas Island or a former resources-industry workers’ camp near Darwin. About 200 people on Christmas Island were due to leave on Monday after completing their 14-day quarantine.

Last Thursday, Australia announced it would ban non-residents from entering the country from mainland China until at least Feb. 22 due to the coronavirus outbreak, causing renewed friction with its largest trading partner. The Chinese Embassy in Canberra issued a statement expressing its “deep regret and dissatisfaction” with the decision.

The education sector is particularly concerned by the ban, which according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. has meant more than 100,000 Chinese students have been unable to start university classes in Australia this term. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned the nation — the world’s most China-dependent developed economy — faces a “significant” impact to its bottom line in sectors including tourism, education and agriculture.

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