NOVEL CORONAVIRUS IN AUSTRALIA Featured

Coronavirus: 400 Australian citizens desperate to get out of Wuhan ‘ground zero’
Kaitlyn Offer and Steve Zemek
AAP
Tuesday, 28 January 2020 7:17 pm

SOURCE
7NEWS.COM.AU

The federal government is trying to deploy officials into the locked-down Chinese city of Wuhan where around 400 Australian citizens have registered for evacuation from the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus.

Australian embassy officials have met with Chinese authorities in Beijing about the options available for citizens in Wuhan.

 

“Right now, the Australian government, through our embassy, is looking to deploy, working with the Chinese government consular officials, into Hubei province, into Wuhan,” prime minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday.

Mr Morrison said the National Security Committee is meeting every few days to discuss the issue as more people arrive in Australia from China.

“We’re working closely with the states and territories and we’ll continue to do that to keep Australians safe,” he said.

“But I would encourage Australians to go about their business, to understand and listen to the advice that’s being received.”

Five people are being treated in Australian hospitals for the virus after returning from visiting the region, but Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said they were all in a stable condition.

School precautions

NSW school children have been told to stay at home if they’ve returned from China within the past 14 days - the incubation period of the virus.

“We are asking parents who have holidayed with their children in China, if they have not been back for 14 days, support the community by holding back your children,” NSW health minister Brad Hazard said.

The direction from NSW is at odds with other states and federal governments which recommend students can return to school unless they’re a confirmed case of coronavirus, have been exposed to a confirmed case or have symptoms.

‘Stay away’

Some private schools around the country, however, have also told students to stay away if they’ve recently travelled to China.

Ten students of Brisbane’s Stuarthome School for girls are flying back from China and will spend two weeks in quarantine at the boarding school to manage any risk of them spreading the illness.

CORONAVIRUS SYDNEY AIRPORT

Five Australian citizens have contracted coronavirus after returning from China. Credit: AAP
But authorities warn there’s likely to be more cases and are working to trace any human contact the five confirmed patients have had, including people who were on the same flights from China to Australia.

In NSW, there are four confirmed cases including a 21-year-old University of NSW student who was diagnosed after flying back from the virus epicentre in Wuhan, China, and three men - aged 35, 43 and 53 - who are being treated at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital.

The UNSW student displayed no symptoms upon landing in Sydney on Thursday but 24 hours later began exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

In Victoria, a man in his 50s is being treated at Monash Medical Centre while four of his family members are under home isolation.

It’s now believed people who are infected could pass the illness to others the virus’ incubation period, which ranges from one-to-14 days.

Doctors had believed patients were only contagious when they started showing symptoms.

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  • ADVICE FOR PARENTS AHEAD OF SCHOOL RETURNING

     


    With students returning to school next week, parents of children who have had contact with a confirmed case of novel Coronavirus are being urged to keep their children at home and monitor for symptoms.

    NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant explained that any child who has been in contact with a person confirmed as having novel coronavirus must not attend school or childcare for 14 days after the last contact with the infected person.

    “14 days represents the internationally recognised incubation period for the disease,” Dr Chant said.

    “After this time the child is considered to be not be at risk of infection.”

    Students who have travelled to Wuhan and Hubei during the school holidays can return to school but should be carefully monitored for symptoms of coronavirus infection.

    “The most common symptom is a fever,” Dr Chant said.

    “Other symptoms include, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.”

    Anyone who exhibits these symptoms should be isolated immediately from other people and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

    If you develop a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of travel to Hubei or contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus, you should immediately isolate yourself from other people. Contact your GP or your emergency department or call the healthdirect helpline 1800 022 222 and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

    Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard explained that NSW Health has processes in place to identify any close contacts of cases confirmed in Australia.

    “Advice about not attending school would be provided to these close contacts,” he said.

    There are currently four confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in NSW. All cases had travelled to Wuhan, China or had contact with a confirmed case in China.

    Parents with concerns can contact their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 for advice or visit the dedicated NSW Health information page at https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

    NSW Department of Education has issued guidance to all NSW Schools, which included information to guide school staff in the event of a child becoming sick.

  • CORONA VIRUS / UPDATED ADVICE AHEAD OF SCHOOL RETURNING

     


    The NSW Government has today requested that children who have visited China in the past two weeks not attend school or childcare services until 14 days have lapsed from their date of departure from China.

    Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said although the risk to children is very low, the NSW Government has taken this step as a precautionary measure.

    “I’ve been advised that it’s not medically necessary, but the NSW Government has acted in line with community expectations to ensure the safest possible environment for our students,” Mr Hazzard said.

    “The internationally recognised incubation period for the coronavirus is 14 days, so this is the logical timeframe to ask students to refrain from attending school. After this time, there is no risk.

    “Advice about not attending school has already been provided to any close contacts of confirmed cases.”

    The Commonwealth Department of Health has confirmed that all passengers disembarking from planes from China are being given comprehensive information about coronavirus in both English and Mandarin.

    NSW Health has been contacting passengers who were on the same planes as confirmed cases to provide appropriate advice and has processes in place to identify any close contacts of cases confirmed in Australia.

    Ms Mitchell said the Department of Education has issued guidance to schools and childcare services across NSW on protocols in the event of a child becoming sick.

    “Although the risk remains very low for children, we believe it is the right thing to do to take this extra step and will continue to update the community with advice,” Ms Mitchell said.

    There are currently four confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in NSW. All cases had travelled to Wuhan, China or had contact with a confirmed case in China.

    Parents with concerns can contact their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 for advice or visit the dedicated NSW Health information page at:
    www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

    Anyone who develops a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of travel to Hubei or contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus, should immediately isolate themselves from other people, contact their GP or local emergency department or call the healthdirect helpline 1800 022 222.

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