Shock at lack of virus check at major Qld airport
OVERSEAS travellers flying into Cairns International Airport say they have been shocked by an apparent lack of infection control preventing coronavirus from spreading to Australia.
It comes as health authorities confirmed the fifth case of the potentially deadly viral disease in Australia late yesterday afternoon, including four in NSW and one in Victoria.
Wollongong resident Carissa Goh flew into Cairns late last week, where she was surprised there was no screening of passengers who had been on board a direct flight from Shenzhen, which has recorded the highest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus outside of China's Hubei province.
"Everyone on the Shenzhen flight, I'd say 95 out of 100 people, was wearing masks," she said.
"When we arrived, we got the normal biosecurity spray, which happens on most international flights.
"But when I got out of the plane, that's when I was expecting something.
"It was just like normally walking through the airport, through immigration.
"I had my bags checked for food, but there was nothing raised about the coronavirus.
"I just walked through to domestic and flew to Sydney.
"I was pretty shocked there was nothing."
She said at the very least, she expected there to be signs warning passengers feeling ill to promptly seek urgent medical attention.
Another international passenger, Noel Garcia, flew into Cairns from the Philippines via Singapore where he and his family were all given protective face masks.
Mr Garcia, a Townsville resident, said he was surprised there was no visible disease control in Cairns.
"Here in Cairns, there was nothing for coronavirus," he said.
The Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for biosecurity at the airport, said in a statement that it was working with the Australian Government Department of Health and state and territory health departments to manage the nation's border response to coronavirus.
Queensland Health did not respond to direct questions about coronavirus infection control in Cairns, but in a statement, the state's Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said anyone who had developed a fever or respiratory symptoms within 14 days of travel to China should see their GP immediately. She urged people to call ahead and advise of symptoms so precautions could be taken.