Aussies hoping to make it home to Darwin are instead stranded in China after yet another flight was cancelled out of the country where the coronavirus continues to spread.
A Donghai Airlines flight, scheduled to land at Darwin International Airport at 7.30 Sunday morning never arrived.
Flight DZ6223 was supposed to have left from Shenzen in China and help a number of Australian residents get home this morning and away from the virus that has killed more than 300 people.
Darwin Mayor Kon Vatskalis addressed the cancellation on Facebook this morning.
“Aus citizens stuck in Shenzhen. Things not looking good,” he wrote.
One person who replied to Mr Vatskalis confirmed they were stuck in China but hoping to get home a different way.
“Stuck in Shenzhen, and have been told border to Hong Kong is closed,” he wrote.
“Can’t fly to Singapore anymore so looking to fly to Osaka tomorrow and then to Cairns with my family of five.”
Mr Vatskalis himself is in coronavirus quarantine at his own home for the next two weeks after recently visiting China.
The mayor returned from Shenzen, in southern China, on Wednesday on the same flight where a person feared to have coronavirus later tested negative.
In a press conference on Sunday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed a Qantas plane was on its way to Wuhan to collect Australians still stranded in China.
The flight will land in Darwin before smaller planes ferry them to Christmas Island
where they will spend 14 days in quarantine.
The flight, which is operated by a volunteer team of four pilots and 14 Qantas cabin crew, is expected to land tomorrow.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed an Australian medical assistance team with a mobile hospital arrived in the former detention centre of Christmas Island.
“Personnel are in place to receive the passengers from Wuhan and we expect that the flight will be collecting within the next 24 hours,” Mr Hunt told reporters.
Several precautions have been put in place to manage the risk of spreading the virus with passengers to undergo health checks before boarding and surgical masks will be worn by passengers and the crew.
There will be a limited food and beverage service to minimise interaction between crew and passengers and the 747 plane will be thoroughly cleaned afterwards.
There are 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia with NSW and Victoria urging people who have been in mainland China on or after February 1 to self- isolate for 14 days.
Mr Morrison announced yesterday foreign travellers who have left or passed through China will be denied entry to Australia aiming to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families, dependants, legal guardians and spouses, will be exempted from the strict measures, Mr Morrison said.
Australians are also being told not to travel to mainland China. The new travel rules are already having an impact.
Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram told reporters 71 passengers were not allowed to board their plane in China overnight and 12 flights have been cancelled on Sunday.
Arrivals at major airports will be greeted by screening arrangements.
Arriving travellers will be issued with masks and information and tested with thermometers.
“It provides additional reassurance to the Australian public that we are absolutely determined to deal with this issue,” Mr Dutton said.
“We have been decisive in making these decisions to get us to this point and we’ll do what ever is necessary to keep Australians safe.”
There are now more than 14,000 cases of the virus globally, with just over 300 deaths.
— With AAP