Aussies Trapped In China Amid Coronavirus Outbreak To Be Evacuated To Christmas Island

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an operation to evacuate Australians from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in China, saying the Christmas Island offshore detention facility will be used as a quarantine zone for evacuated citizens.

Speaking in Canberra today, Morrison said the operation will prioritise young and elderly Australians currently in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, which has been locked down by local authorities.

Citizens who are “transported to Christmas Island would be there, we envisage, for up to fourteen days, which is the advised period of quarantine for the incubation of this virus,” Morrison said.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports at least 400 Australian citizens have requested consular assistance amid the transportation crackdown.

The news comes just hours after the Australian Government formally advised travellers to “reconsider” any travel to China, and stated any travel to Hubei is off limits.

At least 132 people have died in China as a result of the new coronavirus strain, which has infected more than 6,000 people worldwide.

Five cases of the disease have been confirmed in Australia.