CAUGHT up in the coronavirus cruise outbreak, Eddie and Barbara Whitham are just a seven hour flight away from quarantine in Darwin.
The Tamworth couple have spent two weeks on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that became a horror holiday as hundreds of passengers have tested positive for the potentially deadly virus.
Last night they were handed their clearance certificates by the Japanese Quarantine Station, Mrs Whitham said.
"That means we had a negative result from our test and we have had no symptoms of the COVID-19 virus," she said.
"We have agreed to comply with Australian Quarantine regulations, so you can reassure the people of Tamworth that once we return about March 4, we will not be putting our beautiful city at any risk.
"We will continue to be obedient, responsible citizens."
Authorities have instructed the Whithams to remain in their cabins until the first of their health checks by Australian authorities this morning.
It means they won't be exposed to any contamination and can rest until tonight, when they will begin the long, slow process of disembarkation, immigration and take a bus directly to the Qantas plane at the airport.
Australian Embassy staff have told the Whithams they hope to fly them out by midnight for the seven hour journey, and it's believed the New Zealanders will fly with them.
Mrs Whitham said she had received little information about the quarantine they face in Australia.
"The media seems to know more about Darwin than we do," she said.
Mr Whitham was pleased the pair had been cleared to travel and said he would comply with all regulations.
"I am fine, this is the sixth time in 47 years of travel I have been coaxed in or out of some place," he said.
"We were in Mexico during the outbreak of the Swine Flu a decade ago.
"We are experienced travellers."
About 200 Australians will be evacuated to the former workers' site in Darwin on Wednesday for another fortnight of isolation.
Travellers can expect a long day ahead, with five tests for the coronavirus required before they can take up residence at the Howard Springs quarantine.
At least 16 Australians have tested positive for the disease so far.