Fears For Tigerair Passengers After Coronavirus Patient Became Unwell On Flight
Queensland Health authorities are scrambling to contact passengers who were on a flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast on Monday after it was confirmed a man who was infected with coronavirus became unwell on the plane.
The state's health minister Steven Miles said all passengers on the Tigerair flight TT566, which landed in the Gold Coast at 8pm on January 27, should contact 13HEALTH to receive advice on what to do if they become unwell.
Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said authorities are now also trying to determine the man's movements around the Gold Coast for the 24 hours before he was isolated.
The 44-year-old Chinese man, who was confirmed as Queensland's first case of coronavirus on Wednesday, was travelling in a tour group of eight people -- who are now also in isolation.
Four of his travel companions, including children, have now also become unwell and are being monitored, while the other four also remain in isolation.
Queensland's Health Department confirmed a 42-year-old woman, a Chinese national from Wuhan, has tested positive to novel coronavirus on Thursday.
Dr Jeannette Young, QLD Chief Health Officer, said the woman was a member of the same tour group as a 44-year-old man who tested postive to coronavirus on Wednesday.
Young said authorities are now working to determine where the group was sitting on the flight and said passengers who were sitting two rows in front and behind them will be asked to also put themselves into isolation.
Tiger Air has confirmed to 10 daily that there were a total of 172 passengers onboard the flight, including 6 crew members, and said the airline was working closely with Queensland Health.
The airline's group medical officer and aviation medicine specialist Dr Sara Souter said Tiger Air had provided passenger details to Queensland Health, contacted their own crew and provided staff with "regular updates on coronavirus and prevention measures."
"Based on medical advice we have received, the risk of contracting coronavirus is low for passengers who travelled on this aircraft in subsequent days," Souter said.
"However, we have taken the precautionary measure of cleaning this aircraft today."
The 44-year-old man first arrived in Australia from Wuhan on January 22, landing in Melbourne via Singapore.
The man spent some time in Melbourne before catching a flight to the Gold Coast on Monday, where he checked into his hotel.
After becoming "increasingly unwell" the man called for an ambulance and was transferred to Gold Coast University Hospital where he underwent testing.
It comes as authorities confirmed 41 people across the state were being tested for the virus but urged people in Queensland not to panic.
"They should be very confident that our health authorities are putting in place all of the appropriate steps to keep Queenslanders safe," Miles said.
Young said there were no additional protective measures that people in Queensland should take outside of general protection from the flu and other viruses.
"If people are unwell, they should always stay home and not spread whatever infection it is they've got," she said.
"If they've come back from China within the last 14 days, they should seek medical advice, but anyone who is unwell at any time, to stop spread of disease, should stay home."
At Thursday's press conference, authorities also confirmed the Chinese women's national football team remained in a Brisbane hotel after they were placed into isolation.
Young said the entire team was "healthy and well" and had been cooperating with advice from Queensland Health.
Thursday's announcement comes as Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said two Australians in Wuhan had been infected with the disease.
The Queensland case is one of seven confirmed cases in Australia, including four in NSW and two in Victoria.
Authorities in Victoria are also working to get in contact with customers at a restaurant in Melbourne's south-east after a man dined there while he was infectious on January 26.