New Zealand to partner with Australia to get stranded Kiwis out of Wuhan

Australia will partner with New Zealand to help some citizens leave Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

Fifty-three Kiwis are registered as living in the city, with around 20 of those requesting consular help.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his Government is planning a rescue operation for the more than 600 Australians currently trapped in the city.

"We have taken a decision this morning to prepare a plan for an operation to provide some assisted departures for isolated and vulnerable Australians in Wuhan and the Hubei province," Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"We're putting the plans in place, we're working with the Chinese Government to put this in place.

"I spoke again to Prime Minister [Jacinda] Ardern today, I spoke to her last night, so this is very much an ANZAC operation. We will be working very closely with them."

Morrison says the Australians assisted out will be quarantined on Christmas Island for up to 14 days.

"I stress there is rather a limited window here and we are moving very, very swiftly to ensure we can put this plan together and put the operation together."

Ardern confirmed the plan in a statement on Wednesday.

"I spoke with Prime Minister Morrison again this afternoon and we have confirmed that we will work together on a joint ANZAC assisted departure of Australians and New Zealanders from Wuhan," she said.

"Specific details of the evacuation plan, including the medical protocols that will be applied to returning New Zealanders, and access arrangements on the ground in China are being worked through by officials."

 

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