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Aussies With Flu Symptoms Urged To Get Tested For Coronavirus

Australians with an itchy throat, runny nose and other flu-like symptoms have been advised by the government to get tested for coronavirus after health advice escalated over the weekend.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said he'd prefer Australians, who may fear they have been exposed to the disease or show symptoms, over-test than under-test.

"So, if anybody has been exposed, then the position is very clear: that if they believe they've been in contact, if they believe they've been exposed, to self-isolate," Hunt told reporters on Sunday.

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"But what we've been saying is: it's the same principle that if you have flu symptoms or flu-like symptoms, then in the ordinary course of events you wouldn't be presenting. And if in doubt, get yourself tested."

"And that's the important message - we would rather, even though it can be a little bit of a stress on the system, we would rather people over-test, rather than under-test."

A man making fabric face masks due to the shortage in supply caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Image: Sipa USA

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged Australians to be "brave and come forward" to get tested if they had a cough, runny nose or sore throat.

The Australian Medical Association has advised health authorities to make the advice "very clear as soon as possible" after accusing the government of inconsistent messaging over coronavirus.

The federal Department of Health claimed its advice for healthcare workers was consistent.

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"We agree with [Victorian Chief Health Officer] Dr. Brett Sutton that if you are unwell, you should stay home, and if you have an ‘inkling that you might have COVID-19’ you should get tested," it said in a statement.

The advice comes after Australia confirmed its third death to the disease after an 82-year-old man Sydney man died over the weekend.

His death follows that of a 95-year-old woman, a fellow Dorothy Henderson Lodge resident, and a 78-year-old man in Perth.

Passangers wearing masks arrive at Sydney airport after landing on a plane from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Image: Getty

As of Monday morning, 75 Australians have been confirmed as having the virus, which has so far killed three elderly people.

Most of the cases are in NSW, where 40 people have tested positive.

With AAP

Contact Eden at egillespie@networkten.com.au