Coronavirus: Two New Zealanders leaving Diamond Princess cruise ship test positive

Two New Zealand passengers leaving the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for the Covid-19 disease.

The pair were among eight New Zealanders who agreed to take a chartered evacuation flight to Darwin, offered by the Australian government. 

On Wednesday, Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed to The AM Show that the eight passengers would be checked for the virus before boarding the flight, which left Tokyo at 5am (NZ time).

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) confirmed to Newshub that two New Zealanders tested positive for the coronavirus during their final medical checks and were unable to travel on the flight.

"They are being treated in hospital in Japan and MFAT consular staff remain in contact with them," the spokesperson said.

No further information can be provided due to privacy reasons. 

Thirteen New Zealanders were on-board the Diamond Princess, which has been in lockdown for two weeks off the coast of Japan. Around 14 percent of all passengers and crew are believed to be ill with the disease.

Two of the New Zealand passengers decided not to take the evacuation flight and will remain in Japan during the 14-day quarantine period. Two others previously tested positive for Covid-19 and are receiving treatment.

The six who boarded the evacuation flight to Darwin on Thursday morning will be taken back to New Zealand by a paramedic, Dr Bloomfield said on Wednesday. They will remain in isolation for 14 days at the Whangaparaoa military facility.