Fijian evacuees from Wuhan relieved to be in New Zealand

Two Fijian students quarantined at a New Zealand military base are happy they are out of Wuhan - the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak.

Sylvia Nandani and Joe Racaca were among 193 people evacuated by New Zealand last week.

Ms Nandani had arrived in Wuhan from Beijing two weeks before the outbreak and said the experience had been overwhelming.

"It was really difficult to be locked in your room for a week because they had told us not to go outside," she said.

"And where I was located, the market that the virus started from was maybe a few kilometres away.

"There were a few major shops and supermarkets that were open but they used to be very crowded, and going out to the supermarket was highly risky.

"But I'm glad to be out of Wuhan."

Ms Nandani was studying for a Masters degree in Food Science at the Oil Crops Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Mr Racaca had been in Wuhan for three years studying for a Masters in Cartography and Geographic Information Engineering at the China University of Geoscience.

The father of four, 33, said being stuck in a room staring at the four walls was like a prison.

"The fear of going outside and the chances of getting infected were high," he said.

"But here in New Zealand, it's been wonderful. I share a caravan with a good friend from Papua New Guinea."

Mr Racaca said before the outbreak, he considered Wuhan his second home and he even contemplated moving his family there: "The place is beautiful, the people are great. I'm just saddened that I had to leave under these circumstances."

Ms Nandani, 25, said she was grateful to the New Zealand government for getting her out.

"Actually it's better than Wuhan. At least here in this quarantine facility, we are allowed to be outside - like we can take fresh air and sunlight...We're able to talk to other people."