Cruising Kiwis set for double quarantine

New Zealanders leaving the Diamond Princess are being asked to stay in quarantine for two weeks.
New Zealanders leaving the Diamond Princess are being asked to stay in quarantine for two weeks.

New Zealanders on board the coronavirus-infected cruise ship Diamond Princess will be subject to a further fortnight of quarantine after their return home.

The strict measure is designed to preserve New Zealand's status as free of the disease, which has infected over 71,000 people in 29 countries.

There are 11 Kiwis stuck on the cruise ship, stationed at Yokohama, who are looking to make use of the Australian-chartered flight on Wednesday and leave Japan for Darwin.

From there, they'll transfer back to New Zealand, and be asked to spend another two weeks away from the public for fear of the disease's spread.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the need to maintain public health standards was the overriding concern.

"They will need to be quarantined in New Zealand particularly given the infection rate that has occurred on the cruise ship," Ms Ardern said on Tuesday.

"We've also told them that if they do not choose to travel on this flight, they will need to undertake quarantine in Japan before they come back to New Zealand.

"I understand how frustrating that will be for many of them. They have been in isolation for 14 days but unfortunately, there has been such a rate of transmission ... that we do need to put public health and their health first."

Health Minister David Clark said the quarantine was likely to occur at Whangaparaoa, a military base just north of Auckland.

The Japanese government has confirmed that 454 people on board the ship - of around 3600 total passengers and crew - have caught the disease.

Two are New Zealanders, who are being treated in Japanese hospitals.

Ms Ardern said she was yet to decide on whether the 11 fleeing Kiwis would be asked to pay a fee to assist with their recovery.

"There are some on the ship, as you can imagine who are really distressed, who are very eager to get back to New Zealand and so that's why we're able to offer that assistance," she said.

Earlier this month, New Zealanders were charged $NZ500 ($A$479) for a seat on a mercy flight from Wuhan, at the centre of the outbreak, to Auckland.

Australian Associated Press