Brisbane man released from isolation awaiting coronavirus test results
The illness, which causes pneumonia-like symptoms, can be passed from person to person and has so far killed six people and infected about 300 – largely in China.
The United States reported its first case of the virus on Tuesday, with Thailand, Japan South Korea and Taiwan also reporting cases.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young on Tuesday said many people were expected to travel between Australia and China during the upcoming Chinese New Year Period, with anyone returning from Wuhan unwell urged to see their GP or emergency department and place themselves in isolation.
Three flights each week fly into Sydney direct from the Wuhan, the capital of the central Hubei Province, with health authorities looking at processes to meet those planes, she said.
The disease is not being screened for at Brisbane International Airport as there are no direct flights with the city. Doctors around the state have been made aware of the issue and are on the lookout for potential carriers of the disease.
Dr Young, along with other state and territory medical officers met the nation’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy on Monday evening to discuss the response to the disease.
At a press conference earlier on Tuesday Professor Murphy did not mention the man being monitored in Brisbane, but stressed there were no confirmed cases of the virus in Australia.
“No international travellers have yet been confirmed as having this coronavirus in Australia and we already have well-established existing biosecurity measures at the border,” he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that Australia would raise the level of travel advice for Wuhan due to the outbreak.
The new disease is not influenza but is the same type of virus as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed almost 800 people globally during a 2002-2003 outbreak, which also started in China.
However, international health authorities are urging calm, saying with the right precautions the current outbreak will not become as deadly.
-with Stuart Layt, AAP
Matt Dennien is a reporter for the Brisbane Times.