Four Cases Of Coronavirus Detected In Australia
Four cases of the deadly coronavirus have been confirmed in Australia, as authorities scramble to contact passengers who shared flights from China with the patients.
Three men tested positive to the respiratory condition in NSW on Saturday, state health authorities confirmed.
Six other cases are under investigation in the state, NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant told reporters.
Chant said all three people have been isolated after returning from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the viral infection.
"We do not understand the contractibility of the virus. We will act in a precautionary way as we learn more," Chant said.
"We've also sent messaging to say that if there's any Medicare concerns and you're not eligible, we won't be charging you... We don't want any barriers with people coming forward," she added.
To date, 18 people have had assessments undertaken in the state, with 12 of those given the all-clear.
NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said it was a "tricky virus" and advised people with "any symptoms to present to a medical practitioner".
The news comes after the virus has claimed more than 40 lives in China, with the infection spreading across the globe.
Nine people in Queensland have returned negative results for coronavirus, with authorities on Saturday still waiting on results from another possible case.
Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says coronavirus poses a "serious threat" in the state.
"We're taking all precautions possible," she said in a statement.
"We're working closely with the Commonwealth and our ports to provide health information to passengers from China and other areas affected by the outbreak."
Dr Young said public hospital emergency departments across Queensland would be instructed to waive testing fees for foreign nationals suspected of carrying coronavirus.
“People who have travelled from Central China and are showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus can attend a Queensland Health hospital at any time and ask to be assessed for infection at no cost,” she said.
Earlier on Saturday, a man was announced to be the first person in Australia confirmed with having contracted coronavirus.
The man is currently being treated at Monash University Hospital in isolation.
Medical experts told reporters on Saturday that he is in a stable and "not very serious condition."
The 50-year-old man, who is a Chinese national, presented with pneumonia like symptoms on Thursday, before he was diagnosed.
"There is no reason for alarm in the general community," Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikak said.
"We are very grateful for the level of co-operation shown from Chinese authorities," Mikak said.
The man arrived in Melbourne, from Wuhan, China via Southern Airlines CZ321 on January 19th. All passengers on the flight are currently being contacted.
He showed no symptoms on the flight, so may have not been contagious at that stage.
Four people in South Australia were also being tested but authorities said it was unlikely they actually had the virus, with a man also being checked in a Hobart hospital.