In December 2019, a new human coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) with the potential to cause morbidity and mortality (COVID-19) was detected in China.1 The virus has subsequently spread world-wide and a pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) in early March 2020.2 The rapid emergence of this virus has resulted in unprecedented public health responses from national governments aimed at containment of the outbreak. In early February 2020, like other nations,3 the Australian government launched a mission to retrieve Australian citizens from Wuhan, China, caught up in the travel restrictions imposed in the Hubei province. The mission retrieved 278 Australian citizens to Christmas Island, Australia, to undergo quarantine for 14 days. Christmas Island is an Australian external territory situated in the Indian Ocean, 1500 km west of the Australian mainland. Evacuees were housed in a government facility with essential health care capability for the duration of the quarantine period. The evacuees remained on Christmas Island for a 14 day quarantine period, prior to return by air to the Australian mainland. A timeline of the events associated with planning and deployment of the pathology services to support the operation is summarised in Fig. 1.
- Pathology Services
- Australian Quarantine