20 Feb 2020

Diamond Princess passengers arrive in Darwin after health checks

2:06 pm on 20 February 2020

A plane evacuating New Zealand and Australian Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers from Tokyo has touched down in Darwin shortly before midday.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship at Yokohama port on 6 February.

Photo: AFP / Yomiuri

They were then due to board a small plane to travel to Auckland.

The plane left Tokyo early this morning, with about 180 Australians and six New Zealand passengers on board who had spent two weeks quarantined on the cruise ship amid a corona virus outbreak.

The final leg home to Auckland will be on a 13-seat plane chartered by the government.

A doctor and a paramedic will be on board.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said everyone on board the flight from Tokyo was due to be tested twice during the flight.

They would then be tested again as they disembarked and anyone with symptoms would have to go to hospital in Darwin.

Providing they were clear of the virus, the six New Zealanders would be met by ministry staff and transferred immediately to the plane that will bring them across the Tasman, a ministry spokesperson said.

The passengers had been asked to contribute $500 toward the cost.

Some of the Australian travellers had posted pictures before their departure on social media, showing them wearing masks on the plane with staff wearing protective gowns as well.

Two New Zealanders who had been planning to take the trip tested positive for the Covid-19 virus and were being treated in a Japanese hospital.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs