Authorities Looking For Passengers On Planes With Aussie Coronavirus Cases
Two women who recently returned from Iran are Australia's latest coronavirus cases, with health agencies now contacting other passengers from the planes the two people were on.
The NSW and Victorian governments issued warnings within 40 minutes of each other on Sunday night, advising two separate women had been diagnosed with coronavirus after returning to Sydney and Melbourne respectively from Iran.
The Victorian Department of Health confirmed the state's ninth case of COVID-19 on Sunday evening, announcing that a woman in her 30s was currently in isolation at home. She returned from Tehran, the centre of a large coronavirus outbreak in Iran, on February 28 and presented to hospital the next day.
"The woman became unwell on February 27 while travelling to Melbourne from Tehran, via Kuala Lumpur and Bali. She travelled on Malindo Air on flight number OD177 and landed in Melbourne on 28 February at 6.04am. The Department is following up close contacts on the plane," the department said in a statement.
The woman travelled home by private car, and the department said there were "no further public exposure sites."
"She presented to hospital on the evening of February 29 where she was immediately isolated and tested for COVID-19 in accordance with recommended infection control procedures," the department said.
"A close contact is being monitored closely and will be tested for COVID-19. The close contact will also self-isolate at home for 14 days."
VIC health minister Jenny Mikakos tweeted that the woman was "clinically well enough to be discharged after being assessed at hospital". and is now in isolation at home.
The NSW case was also a woman, this one aged in her 50s. She arrived in Sydney, via Qatar, from Iran on February 23, and was tested for the virus on the 29th.
It is the sixth confirmed case of COVID-19 in NSW.
"Anyone on Qatar Airways flight QR908 from Qatar to Sydney that was scheduled to arrive at 6.45pm on Sunday 23 February should be on the alert for symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath," NSW Health said in a statement.
"If symptoms develop, people who were on that flight should isolate themselves straight away and contact their GP or local emergency department."
"Because the woman’s symptoms began within 24 hours of arriving in Sydney, people who were sitting close to her on her flight will be followed up and asked to self-isolate."
NSW Health is "is urging anyone who may have been on the same flight to seek immediate health assessment if symptoms develop within 14 days."
Of the eight other cases in Victoria, seven have recovered and are no longer in isolation. The last case, a man in his 70s, contracted the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship -- he had been isolated in the Howard Springs camp in the Northern Territory, but was transferred to Melbourne on Sunday, where he is now recovering in hospital in a stable condition.
It comes as an elderly Perth man was confirmed as Australia's first coronavirus death on Sunday.