Stricken Kiwis stranded in the coronavirus ground zero Chinese city of Wuhan who are set to be evacuated will touch down in New Zealand on Wednesday.
And Australian residents will join around 70 New Zealanders on the special Air New Zealand flight out of China after an evacuation co-ordinated with the New Zealand Government.
"Australia is working closely with New Zealand on a potential assisted departure of a further group of Australians on an Air New Zealand flight this week, subject to availability," the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed.
The Australian residents will be quarantined on the Whangaparāoa military base outside Auckland or taken to Christmas Island. A Qantas plane carrying Australian citizens taken from China landed at a Western Australian military base on Monday afternoon.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a statement on Monday night confirming the Air New Zealand aircraft that would ferry the New Zealanders home had departed from Auckland.
It will pick up an Air New Zealand crew in Hong Kong before flying to Wuhan on Tuesday evening (NZT) to rescue the Kiwi contingent who have been trapped by the deadly viral outbreak which has so far claimed more than 360 lives.
"We have been informed by Chinese authorities that the New Zealand flight into Wuhan has been given a landing slot late Tuesday evening, 4 February Wuhan time [5 February, early morning NZT]," an MFAT spokesperson said.
"The flight is scheduled to... return to Auckland late Wednesday afternoon, 5 February."
Officials were working with Chinese authorities and Air New Zealand to finalise flight details.
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"Mfat is in touch with those who have requested to leave Wuhan and return to New Zealand on the flight. The number of passengers travelling or a breakdown of nationalities is yet to be confirmed.
"This remains a complex operation with many issues still being worked through including visa requirements and transport logistics. Officials are working to resolve these as quickly as possible."
Health Minister Dr David Clark announced yesterday the New Zealand and Pacific Island passengers returning from Wuhan would be put into isolation at a military facility in Whangaparāoa for two weeks.
"The training camp has been chosen because of its size and facilities, as well as its location and secure nature. It also has its own medical facilities," he said.
Wednesday's charter flight would land "some distance" from the main terminal in Auckland where further health screening would be conducted.
Most Whangaparāoa residents spoken to by the Herald last night were relaxed about the evacuees being quarantined in their neighbourhood.
"Welcome home," neighbour Antony Johnson said.
Those aboard the flight from Wuhan would either be infected with the virus or not, Johnson said.
"But put yourself in their shoes. Too many people are going to be vitriolic about them."
Johnson said those in quarantine at the base would be "miles away" from locals.
He was sure they would be well looked after.
Whangaparāoa resident Malcolm, who didn't want his last name used, lives only a few minutes' drive from the base that will house the evacuees.
But he was relaxed about the situation.
"I don't expect it will affect us," he said. "If it can provide safe refuge to them, better it be out there than in the middle of the city where someone could wander off and infect people."
However, Natasha McGuff said she was a "little" worried about the evacuees who would soon be quarantined nearby.
"It's quite close to us, so I just hope it's well contained."
Nicole Dedham said despite seeing some "silly" social media posts, she wasn't worried about the planned quarantine.
"I don't have a problem with it. I can sympathise with the people stuck over there. They have to go somewhere, I feel safe here."