Coronavirus: Flight evacuating New Zealanders from Wuhan takes off after near-three hour delay

The flight taking New Zealanders out of coronavirus-stricken Wuhan has taken off.

Air New Zealand's charter flight, which was scheduled to leave at 4am (NZ time), was delayed by nearly three hours.

All going to plan it will touch down in Auckland shortly before 6pm.

Meanwhile, an eight-year-old boy has been confirmed as the 13th person with the virus in Australia.  There are now more than 20,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide.

But Sylvie Briand from the World Health Organisation (WHO) says the outbreak isn't yet a "pandemic".

WHO was working with countries and also hoped for a "realignment" among countries' policies regarding evacuations of their nationals from China, she said, as reported by Reuters.

No blame game

New Zealanders are being urged to make sure people in quarantine for coronavirus don't feel blamed or victimised. 

The flight from Wuhan is bringing home Kiwis, Australians and Pacific Islanders.

Psychologist Sarb Johal says it's not in our interests to blame innocent people.

AIRPORT NARITA, TOKYO, JAPAN - 2017/05/06: Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner landing at Tokyo Narita airport. (Photo by Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

"They are unfortunate carriers who may or may not have the virus," Johal told Newshub. 

"What we need to do is help support them through that, for the protection of everybody."

After arriving in New Zealand, those evacuated will be taken to a military facility at Whangaparaoa where they will stay for 14 days.

Johal said counselling and support should be made available while they are in quarantine.