Australians who missed out on the two evacuation flights will now be stuck in Wuhan after the Federal Government ruled out future evacuation flights. Picture: AAP/Helen Orr
Australians who missed out on the two evacuation flights will now be stuck in Wuhan after the Federal Government ruled out future evacuation flights. Picture: AAP/Helen Orr

‘Very unfair’: Trapped Aussies left stranded

Australian families will be left stranded in Wuhan after the Federal Government ruled out future evacuation flights from the coronavirus epicentre.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has notified families in Wuhan there were "no plans currently for any more Australian Government assisted departure flights", according to the ABC.

Two Qantas-operated flights have evacuated Australians from the virus-stricken city, with the first crop of rescued travellers taken to Christmas Island while the second arrived at Howard Springs, near Darwin, on Sunday.

Australians who have been left behind in Wuhan are advised by DFAT to follow the advice of Chinese authorities and "monitor the Smartraveller website".

About 13 children are among Australians stranded in Wuhan, which was placed until total lockdown by the Chinese government as the coronavirus death toll climbs past 1000.

 

Passengers on a Qantas flight from the coronavirus-affected Chinese city of Wuhan arrive at Darwin Airport on Sunday. Picture: Department of Home Affairs
Passengers on a Qantas flight from the coronavirus-affected Chinese city of Wuhan arrive at Darwin Airport on Sunday. Picture: Department of Home Affairs

 

Some of those Australians are left behind despite registering with the government. They include Shirley Xiang, who has been stuck in a Wuhan apartment for two weeks with her husband Tony Chen and their three young children.

"We don't mind being quarantined in the difficult environment on Christmas Island, but we didn't get a chance for the next flight at all," Ms Xiang told the ABC.

"Now they told us there won't be a third flight for evacuation. It is very unfair that the government decided to not evacuate my children.

"I think the government should treat every citizen and permanent resident fairly."

 

A Qantas charter flight arrives at Darwin International Airport on Sunday carrying Australian evacuees from Wuhan. Picture: AAP/Helen Orr
A Qantas charter flight arrives at Darwin International Airport on Sunday carrying Australian evacuees from Wuhan. Picture: AAP/Helen Orr

Australian woman Wenjing Chu, who is stuck in Wuhan with her children aged four and two, said she had tickets for the second Qantas flight but couldn't make it due to an injury that left her unable to walk.

She told the ABC she contacted DFAT about a seat on another flight but was told there would be no more.

Now trapped in Wuhan, she said she was scared of her children becoming ill.

"If my child fell sick, hospitals in Wuhan won't accept us because they are full," Ms Chu told the ABC. "We really want to go back."

 

Australians who missed out on the two evacuation flights will now be stuck in Wuhan. Picture: Getty Images
Australians who missed out on the two evacuation flights will now be stuck in Wuhan. Picture: Getty Images

 

Australian citizens or permanent residents who have already been evacuated from mainland China face a two-week quarantine before being able to go home.

The first evacuation flight took 243 citizens and permanent residents, including 89 children, to an immigration detention centre on Christmas Island.

The second crop of evacuees have been taken to an old mining camp at the Manigurr-ma Village at Howard Springs, as the Christmas Island facility was too full to house them.

There were 266 evacuees taken to Howard Springs, including 92 children.

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