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Kiwis aboard coronavirus-stricken cruise ship to return home with Australian assistance

More than a dozen Kiwis stuck on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off the coast of Uruguay will return home to New Zealand, on the receiving end of some ANZAC spirit in their bid to get home.

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Sixteen New Zealanders are aboard the Greg Mortimer, where most passengers have tested positive for the illness. Source: 1 NEWS

Nearly 60 per cent of the 217 people on board the Greg Mortimer cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19.

One of the 16 New Zealanders on board, Aynsley Guerin, this evening confirmed to 1 NEWS that the Kiwi passengers will travel home on the repatriation fight to Australia.

He also says while he has tested negative his roommate in the ship’s cabin tested positive.

“People are not freaking out, they're just trying to be very focussed and find a way out of this as soon as possible,” he says.

“I know even some who are positive who are taking it in their stride. They're showing very little to zero symptoms.”

Australia has plans to evacuate its 91 citizens on board in the next two days, using a medically re-fitted charter plane, which is equipped to treat those with Covid-19. The New Zealanders on board will now also be included in those plans.

The ship’s operator, Aurora Expeditions, had requested that New Zealand passengers be accepted onto the flight, bound for Melbourne, and to “complete their quarantine in Australia before returning home”.

That will mean a two-week quarantine in Australia for the New Zealanders, should they be allowed on board. 

The flight’s expected to cost each passenger around $15,000 each.