31 Jan 2020

Wuhan evacuation plan: New Zealanders to be charged $500

7:37 pm on 31 January 2020

Passengers who get on the Air New Zealand evacuation flight from Wuhan will be charged $500.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 17: Air New Zealand Airbus A320 landing at Auckland International Airport on December 17, 2017 in Auckland

Photo: 123RF

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has announced details of the evacuation plan.

It hasn't yet said when the flight will depart from the Chinese city, which is in lockdown because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The ministry says New Zealanders, Pacific Islanders and Australians will be eligible to take the flight, but must have the correct documentation and pass the health assessments.

Permanent New Zealand residents who are also Chinese citizens may not be allowed on the flight.

The officials said the Ministry of Health was continuing to work through isolation options for the passengers.

At least 171 people have died from the novel coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, in China following an outbreak in the city of Wuhan. And more than 8200 cases have been reported globally.

One patient in Auckland has symptoms that fit the coronavirus, but test results will not be available until tomorrow, the Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed today.

He said the person showing the symptoms was in Auckland Hospital and "being managed appropriately".

"The normal management of someone who is a suspected case of an infectious disease like this is that they have a special isolation room in the hospital and it has what's called negative pressure ventilation and that basically stops the possibility of the virus being carried out in the air, and the staff looking after that person follow very strict requirements around personal protection."

Dr Bloomfield said the evidence was confirming that the contagiousness of the coronavirus was not particularly high, and the fatality rate was below 3 percent, lower than previously thought.

Dr Bloomfield said it was critical that people felt comfortable coming forward if they had symptoms and it was important there was no blame or shame attached to that.

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