Continental breakfasts, suspicious coughs and dreams of the outside world - inside the Whangaparāoa quarantine camp

Despite being cooped up in a military facility and unable to leave, a Wuhan evacuee says life in quarantine is not too bad.

Henk Schotsman is one of around 160 people being housed in campervans at a military facility in Whangaparāoa, north of Auckland, after being pulled out of China last week.

He says although there are challenges, things could be a lot worse.

"The team here is really amazing, they're really trying to do everything they can to make us as comfortable as they can and meet our needs," Schotsman told The AM Show on Monday. 

Those in quarantine will have to spend 14 days at the facility, to make sure they don't have the virus that has spread to almost 30 countries so far and infected more than 37,000 people. Although two New Zealanders on a cruise ship near Japan have tested positive for the virus, there have been no cases reported in New Zealand as of yet.

In a bid to stop the spread of the virus - which has killed more than 800 people - New Zealand has placed a temporary ban on flights from mainland China. 

Schotsman - who is with his partner and their baby - says although those in the camp are allowed to have contact with one another, most people try to minimise the risk of catching any illness. 

"There's a possibility that people are infected therefore we can pass the disease on to each other so it's best not to make as many friends as you normally do in a caravan or a camper."

Despite regular health checks, Schotsman says a little paranoia is not uncommon.

"If you do have a cough you instantly start to think that you might be sick," he said.

"There have been a few people who have been tested for the virus but they've come back negative."

Everyone receives three meals a day, including a continental breakfast, and Schotsman says he "can't complain about the food".

"There is a little shop here where they provide toys for kids, they provide us clothing, basically all the needs that we have to have."

All in all, Schotsman says the situation "is what it is".

"Everybody is quite easygoing, everybody is quite happy [and] seems to be settled in." 

Being back in New Zealand - even in quarantine - is a stark difference to life in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

The last time Schotsman spoke to The AM Show at the end of January, he described what it was like to be in a city in lockdown. 

At that time, Schotsman said it felt like a "nightmare" as he and his partner feared for the safety of their nine-month-old child. 

"We have no medical supplies here for my baby," he said. "If our baby gets any form of sickness we really don't want to take him to the hospital."

Schotsman is Dutch and has permanent residency in New Zealand. His son is a New Zealand passport holder. 

Now that he is back in New Zealand, he says he is dreaming of what he will do when he is allowed out into the wider world.

"We are planning our first camping trip, for sure. We'll be going to the beach and going for a good hike." 

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