More than a dozen tertiary students from Papua New Guinea are among evacuees on the emergency flight out of Wuhan today and will be quarantined in New Zealand on arrival.
A total of 19 students studying at Wuhan University are on the Air NZ flight NZ1942 due to touch down in Auckland late this afternoon, local media reported.
A member of the group, Christian Tarkup, told NBC News PNG they were to be among those quarantined in New Zealand for 14 days before being flown to Port Moresby, the island nation's capital city.
"All students are getting ready for the flight out and are looking forward to it," he said before the flight left Hubei Province early this morning (NZT).
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Papua New Guinea's secretary for foreign affairs and international trade, Barbara Age, told the media outlet funds were sent to the students ahead of the flight to help them get to the airport.
The PNG students are among other citizens from Pacific countries who are on the chartered flight.
It is understood up to six Samoan nationals are also on board, as well as several Tongan athletes who had been in Wuhan training for various sports teams since around December.
The Samoan Government earlier said scholarship students studying at Wuhan University would remain in the city and self-quarantine themselves.
It is not known whether the Samoan citizens on the Air NZ flight to Auckland are students or other citizens who were in Wuhan at the time of the outbreak.
Evacuees will arrive at Auckland Airport later this afternoon and, after being checked again for signs of illness and processed, will be put on buses headed to the Tāmaki Leadership Centre, in Whangaparāoa.
The military base north of Auckland is operated by the Royal NZ Navy and is where sailors and cadets are trained.