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Read about the effect of coronavirus (Covid-19) on cruise ships.

Australia and Italy have planned to evacuate their citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that is quarantined in Japan.

The Australian Government said that a Qantas charter flight will be used to evacuate approximately 200 Australians who are on the ship.

On 17 February, 1,723 ship passengers have been tested and 454 people have tested positive, of which 26 are Australians.

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The passengers will be quarantined at the Howard Springs facility in Darwin for 14 days to ensure the safety of the citizens.

Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison said: “Now, I understand that those who are on board will feel very frustrated about this, as will their family members. Indeed, I am very frustrated about it. I wish it were not possible.

“But our first responsibility is, I am sure all Australians would agree, is that we have to protect the health and safety of Australians here in Australia.

“And today, we have Australians who are leaving Christmas Island, having been part of that initial quarantine period of 14 days, returning back home, including returning back home here to Melbourne.”

Italy has also announced plans to repatriate its citizens who are on the ship.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio tweeted: “We decided yesterday to send a flight and bring those 35 Italians home.”

The US has evacuated approximately 300 nationals from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Canada, Hong Kong and India also started preparations to evacuate their nationals from the quarantined cruise ship.

The epidemic has so far killed 1,775 people and infected more than 71,000 people. Australia has reported 15 positive cases, while Italy has three Covid-19 confirmed cases.