Coronavirus: Government 'exploring all options' to evacuate New Zealanders from cruise ship in Japan

The Government says it is "exploring all options" to assist New Zealanders who are quarantined on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan.

It was announced on Sunday (NZ time) that officials from the United States will evacuate American citizens and their immediate families on a charter flight.

The Australian government is also sending a public health expert to Japan to see if its citizens can be evacuated.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is aware of the US' evacuation plans to remove its citizens and quarantine them in America.

"The New Zealand Government is exploring all options to assist the New Zealanders on board the ship," a spokesperson said in a statement.

There are 11 Kiwis currently trapped on the cruise. Two New Zealanders were removed and sent to hospitals on land because they were diagnosed with coronavirus.

"The welfare of New Zealanders on the Diamond Princess is an absolute priority for the New Zealand Government, and the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo remains in daily contact with New Zealanders on board the Diamond Princess."

"We have been advised that Japanese authorities are working on the process for managing the release of the passengers."

MFAT says consular assistance is being provided to all New Zealanders on board.

Over 3600 people have been stuck on the cruise ship since it docked in Yokohama on February 4.

The coronavirus death toll has reached 1669, according to CNN. All but four of these deaths occurred in mainland China. There have been 69,000 confirmed cases worldwide.