Australia Australia health officials in talks over new coronavirus, as number of cases triple
Four possible cases of coronavirus under investigation in WA
Four people are being tested for the potentially deadly coronavirus in Western Australia, health authorities confirm. Four people are being tested for the potentially deadly coronavirus in Western Australia, health authorities have confirmed.Western Australian chief health officer Andrew Robertson said the four cases were under investigation."These adults all meet specific travel criteria," he said."The risk to the Western Australian community remains low."WA's Health Department said there were no confirmed cases in the state to date.
Australia's chief medical officer is examining the country's response to the outbreak of a new coronavirus as the number of cases of pneumonia linked to the new virus has tripled.
Chinese health authorities confirmed another 139 cases of the virus which first broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan had been detected on the weekend, and a third person has died.
South Korea also confirmed its first case of the virus in a Chinese woman who flew from Wuhan to Incheon airport on Sunday.
Track The Coronavirus Outbreak With This Website
The spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus (also known as 2019-nCoV) throughout mainland China and into other parts of the world is alarming, but it can be hard to understand the current scope of the outbreak without solid figures. For those who are curious (or concerned), the Centre for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University has created an online dashboard that tracks the current status of the coronavirus outbreak. The site includes multiple graphs and figures—such as the number of confirmed cases, their locations, as well as the number of recoveries and deaths—that are all updated in real-time.
Three cases were earlier reported in Thailand and Japan.
The new coronavirus has also spread to more Chinese cities, with two cases reported in the capital Beijing and one in Shenzen.
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said that while Australia was continuing to monitor the situation closely, there was "still no cause for alarm".
"Australia has well-established mechanisms to detect and respond to ill travellers, and processes in place to add to these if risk increases," Professor Murphy said.
There are three direct flights per week between Wuhan and Sydney.
So far, Australia has not increased screening measures at airports.
However, at least half a dozen countries in Asia have begun screening programs, and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has started screening passengers arriving from Wuhan at three airports.
NSW Health to monitor travellers to China
NSW Health will help federal biosecurity staff at Sydney Airport to monitor travellers returning from China after an outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus. It comes as a Brisbane man who recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan is being tested by Queensland health authorities to check whether he has contracted the virus.Wuhan, the sprawling capital of central China's Hubei province, is the epicentre of the coronavirus, which to date has led to four deaths out of more than 200 cases.
Early cases of the virus, known as 2019-nCoV, were first linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down.
However, the World Health Organisation and other health authorities have now noted there is evidence of limited human-to-human transmission of the disease.
In Wuhan alone, there have been 198 cases of 2019-nCoV, with 136 of those detected over the weekend.
Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott, from the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney, said while authorities were "operating in the dark to a certain degree", there was no evidence of "widespread human-to-human transmission".
"Otherwise we'd be seeing a large number of cases, far beyond what we've currently got."
Professor Murphy said he met with his state and territory counterparts in the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee to discuss Australia's response to the new virus on Monday afternoon.
China increasing measures to contain coronavirus outbreak
China is increasing measures meant to contain a coronavirus outbreak ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays that may increase the spread of the illness, Reuters reported. The National Health Commission in Beijing encouraged local departments to work together on preventative measures and said on Sunday that it thinks the outbreak can be controlled.
"The department is also actively discussing the matter with the Department of Agriculture, which manages Australia’s biosecurity at the border, including human health, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which manages travel advice through Smartraveller," he said.
Chinese authorities said the outbreak was "still preventable and controllable" and added it would increase monitoring over the Lunar New Year period that starts this week, to reassure the public as hundreds of millions of people prepare to travel before the country's biggest annual holiday.
The novel coronavirus is notable because of similarities with the one that sparked Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, 17 years ago.
Unlike SARS, which killed almost 800 people, the 2019-nCov isn't known to have spread to health workers.
"The source of the new type of coronavirus has not been found, we do not fully understand how the virus is transmitted, and changes in the virus still need to be closely monitored," China's National Health Commission said on Sunday.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people, and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats, the CDC said.
Animal coronaviruses rarely evolve and infect people and then spread between people.
With AAP, Bloomberg
Science Says: What to know about the viral outbreak in China .
Health officials around the world are keeping a close watch on an outbreak of a new virus in China. In response, governments are stepping up surveillance of airline passengers arriving from the affected area to try to prevent the virus from spreading. Here's what you should know about the illnesses: WHAT IS THE DISEASE? Scientists have identified it as a new kind of coronavirus. There are many known types of coronaviruses. Some cause the common cold. Others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) or MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).
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