(CNN)Countries are scrambling to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Hubei province, as the number of cases overtake the 2003 SARS outbreak inside mainland China.
These countries have evacuated citizens from Wuhan because of the coronavirus
Flights have been chartered and various quarantine measures have been put in place, ranging from a special medical center to being placed in a detention center in the Indian Ocean.
It comes as the worldwide total rose to more than 6,000 confirmed cases of the virus -- after a 30% increase in reported infections on mainland China overnight.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Wednesday the evacuation will be aided by the country's flag carrier Qantas Airways.
There are more than 600 Australian citizens in Hubei, according to CNN affiliate Nine News, and Morrison said there will be a focus on repatriating "the young, especially infants, and the elderly."
"I stress that this will be done on a last in, first out basis," he said. "They would have been shorter-term travelers to that area, they would not have been living there for many years and we are particularly focused on the more vulnerable component."
The returning Australians will be quarantined on Christmas Island -- more than 1,000 miles away from Australia in the Indian Ocean.
Once there, the Australians will be quarantined for as long as 14 days. "But that will be subject to the medical advice we receive," Morrison added.
The decision has drawn uncomfortable comparisons with the plight of refugees living in a controversial detention center for asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia by boat.
There have been repeated allegations of abuse and even torture of those held in Australia's offshore detention facilities.
Morrison said Australian returnees would be quarantined for as long as 14 days -- subject to medical advice.
Two planes will be sent to Wuhan to help evacuate European Union citizens, Janez Lenarcic, the EU commissioner for crisis management, said in a statement Tuesday.
The first plane left France on Wednesday morning, "while the second one will leave later this week," the statement added. Other flights may follow in the coming days.
Around 250 French citizens will be transported in the first aircraft, while 100 people from other EU countries will take the second plane.
"EU citizens in the region who want to be repatriated to their home countries can request it, no matter their nationality," the statement added.
Countries within the EU, such as France and Germany, have planned their own repatriation procedures.
German evacuations are planned to start in the next few days, the Germany Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
A plane will be sent Thursday to repatriate French citizens, according to France's health ministry. It is expected to take passengers without symptoms of the virus.
"A second flight carrying French nationals who may be carrying the virus is also being planned," Deputy Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari told French television channel CNews on Tuesday.
There are around 800 French citizens in Wuhan.
Italy said it would begin repatriating its citizens from Wuhan this week.
The flight, set to depart Italy on Thursday, will come with medical personnel.
Spain's government is working with China and the European Union to repatriate Spanish nationals from the Wuhan area, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya tweeted Tuesday.
"Close coordination is being carried out with the rest of the European partners to expedite the necessary procedures, and also with the Chinese authorities in compliance with the sanitary protocols required for repatr