Authorities suspect a person inside the Christmas Island detention centre may have contracted the novel coronavirus.
An adult has been isolated from the rest of the evacuees, with test results expected within 48 hours, a source has told SBS News.
AUSMAT officials have ordered the tests as a largely precautionary measure, and do not at this stage consider the person has coronavirus.
Around 3.25pm local time on Monday, a C-130 Hercules arrived at Christmas Island’s airport to deliver a new diagnostic machine for the rapid testing of coronavirus.
Members of the Australian Defence Force were then seen carrying a white styrofoam box marked “Microbiology – Westmead”.
The styrofoam box was loaded onto the C-130 Hercules before it departed. Sources confirmed to SBS News it contained samples that would be tested on the mainland.
Last week, a young girl currently under quarantine inside the Christmas Island detention centre displayed symptoms consistent with coronavirus.
Her samples were sent to Westmead Hospital in Western Sydney for testing, but came back negative.
There are concerns that a positive test of novel coronavirus inside the Christmas Island detention centre could extend the 14 day quarantine period for some among the 276 people inside.
SBS News understands that the samples from this latest suspected case have been sent for testing on the mainland, as the new diagnostics machine at the Christmas Island detention centre will not be operational for two days.
On Monday, AUSMAT Clinical Lead Dr Daniel Holmes told SBS News evacuees would only be tested if they displayed symptoms consistent with coronavirus.
“We have very strict criteria around who we test, and there’s no real reason to change that,” he said.
“We’ll remain cautious and only do tests when it’s warranted. We won’t test anyone if there are no symptoms or worrying signs.
“The ability to test for this virus is very new, because its only been discovered recently…you have to be cautious about how you use the information that you get, and the procedures that you use to make a decision based on testing.”