Mental health helpline created for Australians trapped on Diamond Princess cruise ship


Senator Payne said the 11 Australians previously removed from the ship and taken to hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus were “in the very good healthcare of the Japanese government”.

There were no plans to evacuate Australians from the cruise ship, she said.

Australians trapped on the Diamond Princess are being offered mental health support. Credit:Getty

“No country has indicated it intends to carry out an assisted departure of citizens from Japan, and Australia most certainly does not intend to do that.”

Consular officials in Japan had made contact with affected Australians and their families, she said.

“The quarantine process to help stop the spread of the coronavirus on the vessel is being managed by the Japanese authorities. So, we are working cooperatively with them.”

Mr Hunt said he was working to get the dedicated mental health line up and running on Thursday and all Australians quarantined on the Diamond Princess would be contacted and offered support.

He praised Japan’s health authorities for doing “an extraordinary job” both treating patients and enforcing the quarantine on board the ship.

“We recognise that the stress is real, and we really feel for those people who are in that situation,” he said. “It is a difficult situation.”

Senator Payne urged all Australians travelling through areas impacted by the coronavirus to “follow all health precautions” and check for the latest advice on the Smartraveller website – noting for China this remained “do not travel”.

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“We know that this is a very stressful time,” she said.

“It’s stressful for the people affected by the virus. It’s stressful for those who are experiencing disruption to their families and in their activities.”

Mr Hunt said the government had also made a further 300,000 surgical masks available to doctors, health workers and pharmacists to help them protect themselves while dealing with patients who present with suspected coronavirus symptoms.

“They’ll be provided through the primary health networks,” he said.

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