The Air New Zealand plane carrying people back from coronavirus-hit Wuhan includes 54 New Zealand citizens and a further 44 permanent residents who have Chinese passports.

Air New Zealand flight 1942 departed the city at the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak at 1.46am (6.46am New Zealand time) - 2 hours and 46 minutes late.

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The Boeing 777-200 flight has 312 seats but there are just 193 passengers on board, excluding crew.

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Three on board are Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade consular staff who travelled to Wuhan to assist departing passengers.

The passenger list includes 35 Australian citizens and 12 Australian permanent residents on Chinese passports, eight people are British, 17 from both Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea, five are from Samoa, four from Tonga, two from Fiji and one from each of Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, Holland and Uzbekistan.

Upon arrival in Auckland late this afternoon passengers, apart from the Australian passengers, will be in quarantined in Whangaparāoa.

Australian passengers on arrival into Auckland will be transferred directly to a flight to Australia.

The plane is set to land early evening.

At a press conference on Tuesday authorities said there were 263 people registered for the flight - it's not clear why the other registered people did not board.

When questioned by the Herald, Mfat told the Herald that 60 passengers "did not arrive at the airport".

Another person "was stopped from boarding by Chinese authorities at the health pre-screening check".

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The passengers were to be assessed by a St John doctor and two paramedics to decide whether they were fit enough to travel out of Wuhan.

Authorities have said anyone suspected of having the virus would not be allowed on the flight.

The death toll from the virus stands at 427, with more than 20,000 people confirmed to have contracted the virus globally.