Australians trapped in Wuhan, the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, will have to shell out 1000 Australian dollars to the Government to get out of Chinese city.
Those evacuating the Wuhan said that their rescue comes at a price. In addition to paying for flights, they also need to sign a waiver to be held in quaratine for 14 days on Christmas Island, a controversial Indian Ociean territory used by Australia to house asylum seekers. It is learnt that there are 600 Australians in the city.
Australia is yet to gain permission from the Chinese government to evacuate hundreds of citizens trapped in the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan, despite the US and other countries having already been granted access to the region.
As some people on Christmas Island express fears of becoming a “leper colony” after the government said it would be used to quarantine evacuees, the foreign minister, Marise Payne, confirmed on Thursday morning that officials were still to win the “agreement of Chinese authorities for this process”.
The death toll from the virus surged by 28 per cent on Thursday, up to 170 victims from 132. There are now 7000 confirmed cases, mostly in China. Wuhan is in an emergency situation as the essential commodities are running out fast due to a standstill in the movement of goods. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has begun contacting Australians stuck in Hubei province to inform them what they will need to do to get on the emergency flight, expected to arrive in Wuhan within days.
Other than noting there were around 600 registered Australians living in the Hubei province, little more light has been shed on the operation. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) declined to answer any of Business Insider Australia's questions seeking clarification, directing it instead to DFAT Minister Marise Payne's interview with ABC National. These are the central cracks that have emerged in the plan.
Australia has yet to receive any official clearance from China for the evacuation after Foreign Minister Marise Payne and China's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, discussed the operation on Wednesday.