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Air NZ flight to pick up Kiwis stuck in coronavirus-hit Wuhan leaving Auckland tonight

The mercy flight picking up New Zealanders and Australians from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan leaves Auckland tonight.

An Air New Zealand Boeing 787 plane. Source: istock.com

The Air New Zealand flight, chartered by the Government, leaves at 23:55 headed for Hong Kong, where the flight’s crew are.

The plane will then makes its way to Wuhan, where it will pick up New Zealanders, Australians, and Pacific Islanders.

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1 NEWS reporter Paul Hobbs has this February 3 report. Source: 1 NEWS

Australians on board will be picked up by their own Government on arrival into New Zealand.

Today a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) spokesperson said in a statement they are "in touch with those who have requested to leave Wuhan and return to New Zealand on the flight. The number of passengers travelling or a breakdown of nationalities is yet to be confirmed."

On Friday MFAT announced it would be charging a nominal fee of $500 for every person taking the flight.

The coronavirus death toll has climbed to more than 360 and there are now more than 17,000 cases in 27 countries, but so far New Zealand remains virus free.