New Zealanders being evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan will not be quarantined on Christmas Island, says Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters.
This comes after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday revealed his Government was planning to evacuate almost 600 Australians in Wuhan to the Island for quarantine.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that the evacuation effort would be a "joint Anzac assisted departure".
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"Specific details of the evacuation plan, including the medical protocols that will be applied to returning New Zealanders and access arrangements on the ground in China are being worked through by officials," she said in a statement yesterday.
More than 100 New Zealanders had now registered themselves on SafeTravel as being in Wuhan, where the virus is thought to have originated.
So far, there have been 6000 confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus and more than 130 people have died.
There have been no confirmed cases in New Zealand.
Ardern told Newstalk ZB this morning: "We're in a similar boat to Australia and that's why we're working together".
But, speaking to RNZ, Peters confirmed that Kiwis would not be quarantined on Christmas Island, along with the Australians who are being evacuated from Wuhan.
Asked what will happen to New Zealanders, Peters said: "We're looking at quarantine options within New Zealand".
He could not, however, reveal where New Zealanders would be quarantined "at this point in time".
"We have seriously been looking at that issue and we will be able to provide, when we nail it down, an answer."
Peters was not able to provide a timeframe either, saying that it was "very much dependent on the permission of the Chinese Government for an extraction aircraft to be used".
But, he said at the moment the Government was doing "the best we can with respect to our options".
Ardern has warned any plan to remove New Zealanders would be complex and difficult because of logistical issues.
These including tight travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese Government, pre-departure screening requirements and complying with any quarantine measures.
New Zealand has joined Australia and Britain in warning citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to China, in addition to an earlier blanket warning against visiting Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) revealed it was considering enlisting the help of the Defence Force to get Kiwis in Wuhan back home.
"Options include the possibility of places being made available for New Zealanders on charter flights leaving Wuhan, or assisted departure by NZDF [New Zealand Defence Force] which is more complex," a spokesperson said.