Japanese health authorities have confirmed 169 new cases of coronavirus onboard Diamond Princess in the past 48 hours.
The new figure includes yesterday’s 70 confirmed cases, bringing the total of infected passengers to 454, including at least 16 Australians.
Prime minister Scott Morrison said the government would be providing a chartered flight from Japan to Australia on Wednesday to repatriate the more than 200 Australians on the ship.
“This flight will be made possible by Qantas and we want to thank Qantas once again for answering the call of the Australian people and for those who will be supporting that flight, going up to Japan and bringing Australians home,” Morrison told a press conference in Melbourne.
“At this stage, it is not clear how further cases of infection have occurred onboard that vessel,”
“But because of the nature of the quarantine not being able to be assured, for those more than 200 Australians who will be returning to Australia we are going to have to require a further 14 day quarantine period.”
The prime minister said the quarantine would take place at the Howard Springs Facility in Darwin.
Yesterday, Australians who were part of the initial quarantine period on Christmas Island returned home after 14-days in isolation.
“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 and ensuring that Australians here can go about their lives on a daily basis without any concern about the impact of this virus on their health,” Morrison said.