More than 270 people are being held on the island after their evacuation from Wuhan in China’s Hubei province.
A sample from the sick child has been sent to Perth, where tests will determine whether it is the coronavirus or something else. That process will take up to 48 hours.
“It could be all sorts of other things, we don’t have a test positive at this point, but there is a young woman with a child that has developed symptoms that could be coronavirus,” Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, told reporters this afternoon.
“It is certainly not a serious illness at this stage. They have been further isolated from other people that are on the island.
“The appropriate steps of infection control and indeed medical care are being taken.
The news of a possible infection on Christmas Island comes as the government works with Chinese authorities to get clearance for a second plane to airlift Australians out of Wuhan.
The plane, which was originally scheduled to leave Wuhan on Friday night, did not get clearance to land from China.
It’s now believed the flight will leave Wuhan at 3.15am (AEDT) on Sunday morning.
Australia’s deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said he’s confident the flight will be approved but “can’t absolutely guarantee it because it is indeed on Chinese soil”.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said the Qantas flight is presently in Hong Kong.
“We are awaiting approval from the Chinese authorities to fly to Wuhan,” a spokesman told AAP.
“Many flights out of Wuhan have been delayed. We are engaging closely with the Chinese authorities to ensure our flight can proceed as soon as possible.”
This second group of evacuees will be quarantined at an old mining camp near Darwin.
“We are in contact with all passengers on the manifest about the status of the flight,” the DFAT spokesperson said.
“The assisted departure is a complex operation under difficult circumstances. Any such departure is always subject to operational requirements and to Chinese government final approval.”
The more than 300 Australians who remain trapped in the locked-down city were asked to register interest in a possible third assisted departure flight earlier this week, the ABC reported.
But several of those who managed to secure a seat received an email from DFAT late yesterday telling them to return to where they were staying and wait for further information as DFAT worked with Chinese authorities to reschedule the flight.
“As you had a previously confirmed seat/s on the aircraft this evening, your seat is confirmed for the next flight departing Wuhan, which we anticipate will depart on Saturday 8 February. Please only reply to this email if you no longer require the seat/s,” the email, obtained by the ABC, said.
“We know that this unexpected delay will cause stress and inconvenience, which we regret.”