18 Feb 2020

Covid-19 virus studied - what you need to know

From Checkpoint, 6:07 pm on 18 February 2020

At least ten New Zealand passengers from the Diamond Princess are expected to board a Qantas flight on Wednesday bound for Auckland via Darwin where they will then spend 14 days in quarantine at Whangaparāoa.

The timing will be perfect - the 157 people who travelled from Wuhan two weeks ago are due to leave the camp to return to their homes.

The government says it is also in touch with 16 New Zealanders who got off Holland America's MS Westerdam in Cambodia last week, just hours before an elderly passenger tested positive for Coronavirus.

It comes as Australian scientists study the outbreak in a lab in a bid to work out how long the covid-19 strain can survive outside the body.

And they say the Diamond Princess cruise ship could provide vital clues to how it spreads and reacts.

The Doherty Institute in Melbourne has been growing the virus in a lab. Lisa Owen asked the Director Professor Sharon Lewin what is known about how long it can live on a surface, like inside a plane or a campervan.