MP calls for calm over first COVID-19 case in Cairns

 

CAIRNS MP Michael Healy has called for calm and caution after a woman was locked down in isolation with the city's first confirmed case of coronavirus.

Authorities are retracing the steps of a foreign tourist who arrived in Cairns from Sydney and is understood to have come in contact with the public in both communities.

The woman was staying at a Cairns hotel when she started feeling the symptoms of COVID-19 and self-isolated in her room before undergoing a test for the disease on Monday.

That test came back with a conclusive positive reading yesterday and the woman was carefully shifted to an isolation ward at Cairns Hospital.

Her movements are yet to be publicly released but the Cairns Post understands more details will be revealed today.

The Queensland government has increased penalties for fishing and boating offences. Member for Cairns Michael Healy assisted Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner with the announcement of the new penalties. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
The Queensland government has increased penalties for fishing and boating offences. Member for Cairns Michael Healy assisted Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner with the announcement of the new penalties. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Mr Healy said the confirmed case should serve as a warning for residents across the Far North to take the threat of coronavirus seriously.

"People need to understand that the system we have in place is working," he said.

"Unfortunately, this woman will not be the last," Mr Healy said.

"What we're looking at is a containment strategy.

"We are acutely aware of the concern in the community.

"This is where we need people to be sensible and level-headed.

"We have the infrastructure to be able to deal with this.

"We just don't want to overwhelm our hospitals and medical facilities."

Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service executive director of medical services Dr Don Mackie issued a memo to staff yesterday saying the woman only had "mild illness".

Dr Jeannette Young, StateÕs Chief Health Officer, with Steven Miles with Health Minister, to open the new $4 million maternity unit at Redcliffe Hospital, Friday 13th March 2020 - Photo Steve Pohlner
Dr Jeannette Young, StateÕs Chief Health Officer, with Steven Miles with Health Minister, to open the new $4 million maternity unit at Redcliffe Hospital, Friday 13th March 2020 - Photo Steve Pohlner

Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said she was unaware of how many people the woman might have come in contact with.

"So today we found out there were 50 new cases (across Queensland)," she said.

"All that contact tracing is happening as we speak."

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia's border will be locked to all foreigners from 8pm to stop COVID-19 being "imported" from global hot spots.

The extraordinary border restrictions will leave only Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family, including spouses, legal guardians and dependants able to enter the country from tonight with those arriving facing a mandatory 14 days of isolation.

Mr Healy urged anybody showing symptoms to take care to limit their exposure to others.

"That's why we are saying, if people are not feeling well, the first thing to do is talk to your doctor - don't go in, ring your local doctor," he said.

"A lot of the pharmacies are also doing deliveries."

 

Originally published as MP calls for calm over first COVID-19 case in Cairns



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