Two Australians evacuated from the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for the virus in Darwin.

The two people were among six evacuees from the Diamond Princess who arrived at Darwin airport yesterday with cold-like symptoms.

About 180 Australian passengers on the Diamond Princess were evacuated by a special Qantas flight yesterday. They were taken to a facility at Howard Springs, near Darwin, for a two-week quarantine.

The two people who tested positive are from South Australia and Western Australia and are understood to be well. They have been put in a separate isolation unit and will be flown to their home states to be treated for coronavirus, also known as Covid-19.


Acting NT chief health officer Dianne Stephens said one was "older" and the other "younger".

"Those people remain well and mildly ill with cold-like symptoms and they do not necessarily need to be in the hospital system," she said.

"Both these individuals will be taken into their hospital systems to watch to see whether or not they're going to improve or deteriorate.

"Then their own health systems have systems in place to manage the Covid-19 infected patients."

The four others who came down with cold-like symptoms and were tested for coronavirus have been cleared to leave isolation.

"They will be released from isolation today back into the usual accommodation blocks that we have set aside for the Japanese cohort," Stephens said.

The Australian Government's chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said authorities had prepared for the possibility evacuees would bring coronavirus with them to Australia.

"Given there was continued evidence of spread of infection on board the Diamond Princess in recent days, the development of some positive cases after return to Australia is not unexpected, despite all of the health screening before departure," Prof Murphy said.


The Australians evacuated from the Diamond Princess were screened before being cleared to leave the ship, docked at the port of Yokohama near Tokyo.

They were screened multiple more times as they were taken by bus to Haneda Airport, where they boarded a chartered Qantas flight on Wednesday night and were flown to Darwin.

"All passengers were health screened before being allowed to leave the ship, none had positive tests or any symptoms of disease," Prof Murphy said.

"They were monitored throughout the flight, screened again at the RAAF Base in Darwin and again on arrival at (Howard Springs).

"Six people were identified as having minor respiratory symptoms and/or fever. They were immediately separated from others at the airport and went directly into isolation at the village.

"Two of those people have since tested positive for Covid-19 infection."

The Diamond Princess has spent the past two weeks in quarantine off the coast of Yokohama.

The evacuate Australians were screened multiple more times as they were taken by bus to Haneda Airport. Photo / AP
The evacuate Australians were screened multiple more times as they were taken by bus to Haneda Airport. Photo / AP

It has seen the largest cluster of coronavirus cases outside mainland China with more than 620 passengers and crew testing positive for the virus, including 46 Australians.

Two Japanese passengers, a man, 87, and the woman, 84, died yesterday in hospital after contracting the virus.

There were originally about 3700 passengers and crew on the ship, which docked at Yokohama earlier this month after a two-week voyage around Southeast Asia.

More than 76,200 cases of coronavirus has been confirmed worldwide, with more than 2240 deaths.

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Four Kiwi cruise ship passengers who have tested positive for coronavirus are in stable in a Japanese hospital.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there were no confirmed coronavirus cases in New Zealand.

Six Kiwis who flew to Auckland on an Australia-assisted emergency flight home last night after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess are in quarantine at the military base at Whangaparaoa.

"They're all in good spirits today and have been checked by a doctor and show no symptoms," Bloomfield said.