Date published: 
7 February 2020
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

Australian citizens and permanent residents aboard Australia’s second assisted departure flight out of Wuhan, China, will spend 14 days in quarantine in the Howard Springs Accommodation Facility on the outskirts of Darwin.

The flight is currently expected to arrive in Darwin on Saturday.

With the primary quarantine facility on Christmas Island now at capacity from a public health and quarantine perspective, the Australian Government has selected the Howard Springs Accommodation Facility because it is well equipped for public health and quarantine purposes.

The activation of this facility is part of our detailed contingency planning to support overflow from the primary quarantine facility on Christmas Island.

These actions have been informed by the latest expert medical advice.

The Australian citizens and permanent residents who will stay in the Howard Springs temporary quarantine facility will be screened before boarding the plane in China, and will be continuously monitored by medical staff during the flight.

They will be assessed on arrival at Darwin, and anyone who is found to be unwell will be taken directly to hospital where they will be quarantined.

People quarantined in the Howard Springs temporary quarantine facility will remain within the perimeter of the property throughout their 14-day isolation period and will be housed away from the perimeter fences.

All quarantine and protection arrangements will be directly supervised by the public health experts from Territory Health and the Australian Medical Assistance Team.

Australian Government Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, said people staying at the Howard Springs Accommodation Facility were unlikely to become infectious and their health would be closely monitored.

“It is important people living in and around Howard Springs know the novel coronavirus can only be transmitted by close contact with an infectious person and cannot be spread through the air,” Professor Murphy said.

“The health and safety of the Howard Springs community is of paramount importance and I am confident the security and public health measures put in place will prevent any risk to the community’s health.”

There are currently 15 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Australia: two in South Australia, five in Queensland, four in Victoria, and four in New South Wales.

Further information about the coronavirus is available at:

Ministers: