More than 200 Australians have been flown back home after 14 days in quarantine on remote Christmas Island amid coronavirus fears. They were evacuated from China’s Hubei province – the epicentre of the deadly outbreak – on 3 February.
With no cases reported during the minimum required time, they were taken to six cities across Australia.
Many of the returnees, including children, expressed relief, saying they were happy to be finally home.
More than 70,600 people across China have been infected by the virus, with 1,771 deaths. Most new cases and deaths in the past 24 hours have been reported in Wuhan, Hubei’s largest city.
More than two dozen countries around the world have confirmed cases of the new coronavirus. Australia is among them with 15 cases.
Outside mainland China, five deaths have been reported – in France, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan.
The virus, which causes acute respiratory disease, has been named Covid-19.
The Australian citizens and permanent residents, including dozens of children, arrived back home on Monday evening.
“I’m really glad we will be able to go home now. I feel really lucky,” Catherine Chen, who landed in Perth, was quoted as saying by Australian broadcaster ABC.
Ms Chen, who runs a childcare centre in Western Australia, had been separated from her husband for a month after travelling with her two children to Hubei.
Meanwhile, Mel Pleno arrived back in Sydney with his wife and three children.
“We’re very grateful for the Australian government and their response to the situation, and chartering a plane for my family to come back,” Mr Pleno said, quoted by Australia’s 7 News.
None of the returnees will be required to take any further tests.