A delicate repatriation mission to rescue Australians and New Zealanders stranded on an Antarctica cruise in Uruguay has been “meticulously planned”.
Around 96 Australians and 16 New Zealanders are being flown to Melbourne in a specialist jet after they were stranded aboard the “Greg Mortimer”, a ship that was bound to cruise Antarctica.
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The Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Australia Dr Nick Coatsworth has the mercy flight to repatriate Australians trapped in Uruguay has been “meticulously planned”.
“This is a very important thing that we have to get right but equally, we have to bring this Australians back, physically when our understanding is that over 70 per cent of the just over a hundred Australians who are coming back, had tested positive to coronavirus,” Dr Coatsworth said.
“I am aware of the detailed plans to meet that aircraft when it arrives tomorrow morning.
“Making sure that all of the passengers get a further medical assessment on this side and then depending on that medical assessment, either go to hospital or into a hotel quarantine.”
When the plane lands, each passenger will be subject to strict quarantine protocols and all passengers will be tested for COVID-19 if necessary.
A field emergency medical officer team has been deployed to meet the plane at Tullamarine airport in Melbourne.
Aurora Expeditions, the company which was operating the cruise, said they would foot the bill for the flights under their insurance policy.
“The plane will be set up into risk zones, with passengers seated by test results and level of care required by the passenger,” Aurora Expeditions said.
New Zealanders on the flight will then join private chartered planes to fly from Melbourne to New Zealand.
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