Coronavirus: Kiwi on cruise ship in Japan blames Government for quarantine time

A New Zealander due to be rescued from the cruise ship struck in Japan by a coronavirus outbreak is blaming the Government for the time they will have to spend in quarantine.

After two weeks, the 11 Kiwis stuck on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship are about to leave, their coronavirus lockdown is almost over.

But their ordeal is far from finished as they now face a second stint in isolation.

"It was going to be our last day on ship today and we were hoping to get out tomorrow," said Wren Manuel, an Aucklander on board the ship.

But instead of getting their freedom back, now they have to spend another two weeks in quarantine.

"I'm pissed off to be honest," Manuel said. "The New Zealand Government could have actually done this a long time ago.  

"We have actually wasted 14 days and now we've got to go through another 14 days of this."

The cruise ship where they've spent quarantine is the place with the highest rate of coronavirus infection in the world. Of the 3700 who were on board more than 450, including two Kiwis, have contracted COVID-19 coronavirus.

Those who are set to fly home on the chartered Qantas flight on Wednesday will have to repeat their quarantine when they arrive.

"I understand how frustrating that will be for many of them," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. "They have been in isolation for 14 days, but unfortunately, there has been such a rate of transmission despite incredible efforts from all those involved, that we do need to put public health and their health first and undertake a further quarantine."

Anyone who declines the flight home will have to undertake quarantine in Japan.

"We have been very clear, particularly in respect of those on the cruise ship, that they will find it very difficult to get back into New Zealand for at least the next two weeks if they do not go on the commercial flight that is being arranged," Health Minister David Clark said. 

Meanwhile, the Chinese Ambassador in New Zealand was putting a positive spin on things.

"Through our arduous efforts the epidemic is generally under control," Wu Xi said. "The number of confirmed cases has been dropping for a consecutive 13 days outside of Hubei province."

For those rescued from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, their coronavirus ordeal is now over.

In Australia, those who've completed their time in isolation returned to relieved hugs.