Multiple government agencies gather beside buses to take Australian evacuees from the coronavirus-struck cruise ship Diamond Princess after they arrived on a Qantas flight from Japan at Darwin International Airport in Darwin, Thursday, February 20, 2020. (AAP Image/Helen Orr)
The Australians evacuated from a cruise ship off Japan are now in quarantine in the workers' village near Darwin that will be their home for the next fortnight.
The group of about 170 people had already been quarantined on the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess in Yokohama for two weeks, effectively leaving them confined for almost a month.
Some 180 citizens and permanent residents had taken up the federal government's offer of a seat on the special Qantas evacuation flight, which left Tokyo's Haneda Airport in the early hours of Thursday.
But 10 were told they could not leave because they had tested positive to the deadly disease, known as COVID-19.
Another 15 had already chosen to stay behind in Japan to be near family members who have been hospitalised after contracting the virus.
Two passengers on the Diamond Princess have died, Japanese media reported on Thursday.
The Australians, who are mostly aged 60-plus with some aged over 80, were screened for symptoms of the virus five times before being taken to the former Inpex camp at Howard Springs, 30km southeast of Darwin.
They will also be tested daily during the quarantine and looked after for other health concerns, both physical and psychological, given the group's extended period in isolation.
The facility has been modified in recent days to cater for the older age of the group.
The cruise ship evacuees will be kept separate from the 266 people already in quarantine at Howard Springs who were evacuated earlier this month from the epicentre of the virus at Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province.
They will leave on Sunday.
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus on the ship, which was carrying 3700 passengers and crew, has topped 620 and includes 36 Australians, all of whom are stable.
Australia's deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said while the ship's quarantine methods had worked to stop the virus spreading onshore, there had been a recent spike in cases onboard.
"It just demonstrates the infectiousness of this particular virus and how it can spread very easily in a closed setting like a cruise ship," he said.
Australia is expected to extend its China travel ban for another week amid ongoing fears about the spread of the virus, locking out Chinese students and tourists.
"It's had a significant economic impact but we're doing these protectionist measures to ensure that we protect the Australian people," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Sky News on Thursday.
Meanwhile, all of the evacuees on Christmas Island have now left the detention-centre turned-quarantine-facility.
None have tested positive for the coronavirus.
There have been 15 confirmed cases of the disease in Australia, with eight people recovered and the rest in stable conditions.
So far there have been more than 75,200 cases recorded worldwide and 2009 deaths, almost all of which were in China.
© AAP 2020