Coronavirus Qantas flight has landed in Wuhan to fly out Australian passengers


The volunteer Qantas crew manning the Boeing 747 that will fly stranded Australians out of the Chinese city of Wuhan are ready “to get this done”, the airline’s CEO says.

More than 200 Australian citizens and residents will soon leave the city of Wuhan and will be flown from the epicentre of the coronavirus to Exmouth in northern Western Australia. From there, they will be taken to Christmas Island to be quarantined for 14 days.

The Qantas plane carrying four pilots and 14 cabin crew left Australia late on Sunday before arriving in Wuhan early on Monday, however it is not clear when exactly the plane will depart for Australia.

“I spoke to the crew last night through FaceTime video and they were all very keen to get this done and get the Aussies out,” CEO Alan Joyce said earlier.

“We put in a whole series of protections for these volunteers to make sure that they are protected.

“There is a lot of medical assistance on-board, passengers are checked before they get on-board, we’ve put in the maximum amount of protection that we can.

“The flight is on the ground in Wuhan at the moment.”

Passengers went through health checks before boarding and will wear surgical masks throughout the flight.

There will be a limited food and beverage service to minimise interaction between crew and passengers, and the 747 plane will be thoroughly cleaned afterwards.

Mr Joyce said the crew had masks, gloves and sanitisers and would be placed on the upper deck of the aircraft.

During the flight, he said there would be water left on the seats for passengers.

Mr Joyce said there were many children on-board and quite a lot of elderly passengers.

“We need to get them home and out of Wuhan,” he told The Guardian.

“I’m so proud of our crew that they volunteered to do this. They know there’s a slight risk, but the captain told me this is so rewarding that they are helping Australians in need.”

There have been 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia There are now more than 14,000 cases of the virus globally, with more than 300 deaths.

The Federal Government has announced foreign travellers who have left or passed through China will be denied entry to Australia to offset the risk of the virus spreading.

Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families, dependants, legal guardians and spouses are exempt from the strict measures. Some 71 travellers to Australia were not allowed to board their plane in China overnight, and 12 flights were cancelled on Sunday.

Once the plane arrives to RAAF base Learmonth, in Exmouth, Western Australia, passengers will be transferred to smaller government aircraft that will then be flown to Christmas Island to be quarantined for two weeks.


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