Close to 200 Australians have packed their bags and are undergoing coronavirus tests as they prepare to finally leave an infected cruise ship in Japan.
Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said 180 Australians would be evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, while 15 had chosen to stay in Japan to be near family who have contracted the deadly disease.
The Qantas flight is due to depart Japan in the early hours of Thursday morning for Darwin, where they will then be taken to a former workers' camp near the city.
"No passengers will board the plane if they have any symptoms of the coronavirus or test positive, obviously, to the coronavirus," Mr Tudge said in Sydney on Wednesday.
The evacuees have already spent more than two weeks quarantined on the ship in Yokohama, but will begin another 14-day isolation period at the facility to stem the spread of the virus.
They will be screened for symptoms five times before bunkering down at the Howard Springs site.
Mr Tudge said there were 542 cases on the ship, with 88 new cases including 36 Australians.
They are being treated in hospital in Japan.
Australia's deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said while the ship's quarantine methods had worked to protect the rest of Japan, the recent spike in cases could come down to crew falling ill.
"It just demonstrates the infectiousness of this particular virus and how it can spread very easily in a closed setting like a cruise ship," he said in Sydney.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he understood the frustration of people stuck on the ship.
"We want to get them home to their families as soon as possible," he said in Adelaide on Wednesday.
The evacuees, who are mainly elderly, will have continuous access to medical assistance at the quarantine facility.
They will be kept separate from hundreds of people already in isolation at the facility, who were evacuated from the Chinese epicentre of the virus at Wuhan.
Cabin crew of the Qantas flight will be subject to two weeks of home quarantine after returning from the rescue mission.
Meanwhile, the 36 evacuees remaining on Christmas Island left on Wednesday morning bound for their Australian home cities, after most of the quarantined group returned to the mainland on Monday.
The facility will be readied for the possibility of more Australians facing the two-week isolation period.
Island administrator Natasha Griggs tweeted her thanks to those involved in the operation.
"Job well done! I couldn't be a more prouder Australian," she wrote.
There have been 15 cases of the virus in Australia, with eight people now recovered and the rest in a stable condition.
There are now more than 75,000 cases worldwide, with 2009 reported deaths.
Australian Associated Press