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Doctor to head Christmas Island coronavirus medical response

A QUEENSLAND anaesthetist will head up the Christmas Island medical response for Australians being repatriated from Wuhan, the epicentre of a new virus, which has killed more than 300 people.

The Morrison Government is standing up a quarantine facility on Christmas Island, where Australians evacuated from Wuhan will be isolated for 14 days before being allowed back on the mainland.

Sunshine Coast anaesthetist Dan Holmes (centre), the leader of an Australian Medical Assistance Team on Christmas Island to monitor Australians being repatriated from Wuhan, the epicentre of a novel coronavirus. Photo: Colin Murty, The Australian.
Sunshine Coast anaesthetist Dan Holmes (centre), the leader of an Australian Medical Assistance Team on Christmas Island to monitor Australians being repatriated from Wuhan, the epicentre of a novel coronavirus. Photo: Colin Murty, The Australian.

Sunshine Coast University Hospital anaesthetist and director of trauma Dr Dan Holmes will head up the specialist Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) on Christmas Island.

The Courier-Mail understands Dr Holmes is already on Christmas Island waiting for what's expected to be hundreds of Australians arriving from Wuhan.

A date for the repatriation mission has not been announced, but it's expected to be later this week.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles described Dr Holmes as "one of our great responders when it comes to delivering medical care where it's needed most".

His most recent mission was leading an AUSMAT team into Samoa, to assist with the Pacific Island nation's measles epidemic, which killed more than 80 people, mostly young children.

"We can be proud of the work this man does," Mr Miles said.

The AUSMAT team includes doctors, nurses and allied health staff. They were briefed in Darwin before flying to Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean, about 1400km north-west of the Australian mainland.

"This is a Commonwealth strategy to deal with the coronavirus and the repatriation of Australians who have been caught up in the crisis," Mr Miles said.

"At a local level, Queensland Health is more than happy to provide expert support in the form of Dr Holmes."

The evacuated Australians will be monitored by Dr Holmes' team and treated if they develop symptoms of the novel coronavirus.



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