Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed the first Australian case of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

The man in his 50s, a visitor from China, is in a stable condition with the respiratory illness. He was confirmed as positive at 2.15am today following a series of tests.

 

The patient is being treated in an isolation room at Monash Medical Centre Clayton in accordance with recommended infection control procedures.

 

He had been in the city of Wuhan, China in the two weeks prior to the onset of his illness.

 

Department of Health and Human Services public health experts have interviewed the patient and have determined that he arrived in Australia on the morning of January 19 from Wuhan to Melbourne via Guangzhou. The first leg was on CZ3706 and he came into Melbourne on China Southern Airlines flight CZ321.

 

He has spent his time since arrival with relatives at their home. Close contacts are being provided support and education and monitored closely for signs or symptoms of illness.

 

The Department is working closely with the Commonwealth Government and we have agreed that Victorian and Commonwealth officials will be stationed at Melbourne Airport to support and inform passengers arriving from China.

 

Passengers who were on the flight with the current patient will be contacted.

 

A hotline will be established to provide more information if anyone has questions.

 

Victorians and visitors returning from Wuhan City or other locations with cases have been advised to closely monitor their health.

 

Any people who develop symptoms of fever and breathing difficulty or cough within 14 days of travel to Wuhan City or other locations with confirmed cases should seek medical help immediately and advise of their travel history.

 

The Department has issued a Chief Health Officer’s alert to hospitals and GPs on novel coronavirus and provided advice about the symptoms. An updated alert will be issued later today.

 

Victoria has well-established systems to respond to ill travellers. Federal health authorities have said the risk of transmission in Australia from novel coronavirus remains low.

 

Background

 

Any people who have developed symptoms of fever and breathing difficulty or cough within 14 days of travel to Wuhan City or other locations with confirmed cases should seek medical help immediately.

 

Hands should be washed regularly with soap and water and respiratory and cough etiquette should be observed at all times. If you feel sick, avoid contact with others.

 

Before attending a GP or emergency department people should call ahead and mention their recent travel and symptoms.

 

GPs and emergency departments should ensure a travel history is taken for all patients presenting with symptoms of pneumonia, isolate and place a respiratory mask on any travellers on arrival at the department or clinic.

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