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  • Qantas plane crew are ready for airlift

    Author: AAP

The Qantas plane that will bring home hundreds of Australians stranded in the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak is now on the ground in Wuhan.

The volunteer Qantas crew manning the Boeing 747 that will fly stranded Australians out of the Chinese city of Wuhan are ready "to get this done", the airline's CEO says.

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Hundreds of citizens and residents are due on Monday to be airlifted from the epicentre of the coronavirus to Exmouth in northern Western Australia, before being taken to Christmas Island where they will be quarantined.

The Qantas plane carrying four pilots and 14 cabin crew left Australia late Sunday and is now on the ground in Wuhan, in Hubei province in central China.

"I spoke to the crew last night and through FaceTime video and they were all very keen to get this done and get the Aussies out," CEO Alan Joyce said.


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"We put in a whole series of protections for these volunteers to make sure that they are protected.

"The flight is on the ground in Wuhan at the moment."

Passengers will go through health checks before boarding and will wear surgical masks.

There will be a limited food and beverage service to minimise interaction between crew and passengers and the 747 plane will be thoroughly cleaned afterwards.

Mr Joyce said the crew have masks, gloves, and sanitisers and will be placed on the upper deck of the aircraft.

"They are there for safety reasons to make sure the doors and on takeoff and landing," Mr Joyce said.

"In-flight, there is water left on the seats. The crew go back to the upper deck, which is sealed."

There have been 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia.

There are now more than 14,000 cases of the virus globally, with just over 300 deaths.

The federal government has announced foreign travellers who have left or passed through China will be denied entry to Australia to offset the risk of the virus spreading.

Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families, dependents, legal guardians and spouses, are exempt from the strict measures.

Some 71 travellers to Australia were not allowed to board their plane in China overnight and 12 flights were cancelled on Sunday.


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