A Victorian case of the potentially deadly coronavirus has been confirmed.
A Victorian case of the potentially deadly coronavirus has been confirmed.

Australian case of coronavirus confirmed

A CASE of the deadly coronavirus has been confirmed in Victoria.

The Sunday Herald Sun has learned the person returned to Melbourne from Wuhan in China last week.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Australia is a Chinese national in his 50s who had returned to Melbourne from Wuhan in China on January 19.

He is currently in isolation at the Monash Hospital in Clayton

Ms Mikakos says all passengers on the affected man's China Southern Airlines flight CZ321 to Melbourne would be notified.

The flight arrived at 9am on January 19.

The man was travelling alone, arriving on China Southern Airlines flight CZ321 from Guangzhou into Melbourne about 9am on January 19.   He had taken connecting flight CZ3706 from Wuhan to Guangzhou.    

He is in Australia visiting family.  

Chief Health Officer Dr Angie Bone said the man had not been in any public areas since his arrival, and only had contact with his family.   

She could not say which suburb he was staying in.  

His family are being closely monitored for signs of any symptoms.  

The man presented to a GP on Thursday but no connection to the virus was made.  

When his condition worsened, his family contacted the hospital and took him there yesterday where he remains in isolation with pneumonia-like symptoms.  

He was confirmed positive for coronavirus at 2.15am today.  

Dr Bone said it was concerning the GP had not made any link with the man's illness and the fact he had come from Wuhan.  

She said the department had issued an alert to hospitals and GPs on the virus and provided advice about symptoms.  

"We ask GPs to ask people presenting with respiratory illness their travel history," she said.  

Chief health officer Dr Angie Bone said the man does not know how he contracted the respiratory illness but did not have symptoms on the plane.  

He never went to the market where the virus is expected to have originated, she said.   He is also not a health care worker in China treating suspected patients.  

"He's potentially a second hand case," Dr Bone said.  

At this stage there is little known about the incubation periods of the virus, she said, so it is unclear when he would have contracted the virus.   Ms Mikakos urged Melburnians not to panic, saying the risk to the public is "low".  

"This is one confirmed case in Australia," she said.  

"There is no reason for alarm in the general community.  

"We are doing everything possible to keep the community safe."  

The recent outbreak of coronavirus China has quickly spread to other parts of the world.  

Seven other Australians are under investigation for the virus including five in NSW.

The death toll continues to rise in China, with 41 confirmed deaths and more than 850 people infected.

Construction on a special 1000-bed hospital is underway in Wuhan as the city struggles to cope with the number of infected patients in the city.

Authorities in China have put 14 cities in lockdown, closed parts of the Great Wall of China and Disneyland in Shanghai.

 

Work is underway in Wuhan to construct a 1000-bed hospital by February 3 to cope with the surge of coronavirus patients in the city. Picture: Getty
Work is underway in Wuhan to construct a 1000-bed hospital by February 3 to cope with the surge of coronavirus patients in the city. Picture: Getty

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said: "Australia has world-class health systems with processes for the identification and treatment of cases, including isolation facilities in each state and territory, these processes have been activated."

"Our laboratories have developed testing processes for this novel coronavirus that can provide a level of certainty within a day,'' he said.

Minister Hunt said Victorian and Commonwealth authorities would be undertaking "contact tracing" for passengers who travelled on this flight and to provide them with information and advice.

 

 

Australian Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy said Victoria had acted swiftly and appropriately.

"Victoria has followed its strict protocols, including isolating the affected person. I understand the patient has pneumonia and is in a stable condition,'' Prof Murphy said.

"We don't know exactly how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected, but there is an incubation period and some patients will have very mild symptoms.

"Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

"People who arrive in Australia from an international flight with these symptoms should alert their airline, or a biosecurity officer if they have disembarked."
 

 

 

rebekah.cavanagh@news.com.au



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