Christmas Island ‘worse than prison’
Australian citizens on Christmas Island have shared an insight into quarantine, saying the centre is "worse than a prison" with shared bathrooms leading to fears of contracting the coronavirus.
There are 241 Australian citizens and residents who have been ferried to the island to stay in quarantine for 14 days after being evacuated from coronavirus-hit Wuhan.
A pregnant woman and her partner have instead been taken to Perth and placed in isolation as there are no maternity facilities on the island.
Families told the ABC conditions were unhygienic, with cockroaches and slow internet, however others said it was not too bad.
Belinda Chen told the broadcaster her children were "too scared to touch their beds".
"The hygiene issues make it worse than a prison," she said. "I understood that there would be very limited facilities here, but the actual condition is no facilities at all.
Another man, Kai Zhang, said it was "not very good, but still acceptable".
"The only thing I'm not used to is the food here, it's not very ideal for us. I hope with more staff to follow up our conditions, this can be improved," he said.
ABC China correspondent Bill Birtles shared a picture of two children of Gloria Zeng. She said she tried to make it an adventure for them and said those who didn't expect too much were not disappointed.
Just been sent this photo by #Wuhan evacuee Gloria Zeng of 2 of her 3 children inside quarantine on Christmas Island. She gave permission to post it. Says: ‘My 7yro knows roughly what’s happening. I doubt my younger ones understand. But I try to make it an adventure for them.’ pic.twitter.com/spthWH9s93— Bill Birtles (@billbirtles) February 4, 2020
"But I saw people who have high expectations are complaining," she said.
"The courtyard is big for the kids to run around but there is no sunscreen."
Others said the shared bathrooms led to fears of contracting the virus, with one saying they "feel like a group of animals".
Brisbane man Rob Kellett shared a picture of himself wearing a mask outside a sign a sign that said "Welcome to Christmas Island". He had previously posted on social media about having to leave his Ukrainian girlfriend in Wuhan.
Another batch of stranded Australians are preparing to evacuate to New Zealand. None of the Christmas Island arrivals have so far shown any signs of having the deadly virus, but they will spend 14 days in quarantine to ensure they pose no health risk.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison thanked everyone involved in the complex operation.
"We are now working with the Chinese authorities on a possible second assisted departure flight for Australians seeking to leave Wuhan," Mr Morrison tweeted on Tuesday.
- With wires