First Suspected Case Of Coronavirus In Australia After Man Returns From China
A Brisbane man has presented with symptoms of the coronavirus following a trip to China.
Queensland's chief health officer Jeneatte Young announced on Tuesday the man had been held in isolation as tests were carried out after he developed symptoms of respiratory illness.
The man had recently returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan -- the epicentre of the virus outbreak.
"We've got one gentleman that we're just following at the moment who has travelled to Wuhan and has developed a respiratory illness," Young told a press conference.
The man was released from isolation on Tuesday afternoon.
Young said Queensland doctors had been alerted as to what symptoms to look out for and asked the state's medical staff to collect samples from anyone potentially infected, for testing in Brisbane.
The symptoms for this strain of virus were first thought to be linked to pneumonia -- the main one being fever, with some patients suffering coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
The new virus -- related to the deadly SARS -- can be transmitted between humans, with the total number of cases in the world above 200.
At least six people are thought to have died from coronavirus symptoms so far, but it is not considered as dangerous as SARS.
On Tuesday Scott Morrison said Australia would raise its travel advice warning for Wuhan City to Level 2 'exercise a high degree of caution'.
"... while the current risk level is low, precautions are being taken to protect Australians," Morrison said.
"We are well prepared to respond to this situation and we will continue to monitor and take action where necessary.
"I urge all Australians travelling to check the DFAT Smartraveller website for specific updates."
Earlier, Australia's chief medical officer said the risk posed to Australians by the new strain of coronavirus remained low.
Almost all the current cases have been found in China, but a very small number have been reported in Thailand, Japan and South Korea.
Coronavirus was first reported to the World Health Organisation on December 31.
"There is no need for alarm and the risk to the Australian public from this novel coronavirus remains relatively low," Brendan Murphy told reporters.
He said the current number of confirmed cases was probably an underestimate. There are three direct flights a week from Wuhan into Sydney. From Thursday, each of these flights will be met by biosecurity staff.
Information will be displayed across all other points of entry into Australia to warn people who develop symptoms to seek urgent medical attention.
Australian authorities will also work with the Chinese media to get the message across.
Professor Murphy said screening was reliant on people self-reporting.