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Australia Coronavirus outbreak prompts warning for Australian GPs to wear masks during consultations

02:30  28 january  2020
02:30  28 january  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Coronavirus outbreak . Image copyright Getty Images. Image caption Residents in some areas, including this police officer standing in front of an The fast-spreading infection, which causes pneumonia-like symptoms, has prompted Chinese authorities to quarantine several major cities and

People have opted to wear masks during the Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown Wearing surgical masks has become a phenomenon in China since the outbreak of coronavirus - but Wearing masks and washing your hands frequently are among the guidelines to avoid catching

a close up of a woman: The Federal Government says it will make sure everybody who needs a mask gets one. (Supplied)© Provided by ABC Health The Federal Government says it will make sure everybody who needs a mask gets one. (Supplied)

The Federal Government has told doctors and GP surgery staff to wear face masks when seeing potential coronavirus cases and it will dip into the national mask stockpile to make sure there are enough to go around.

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said he had spoken to the president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners on Tuesday morning and advised that the masks be used for consultations.

"We want GPs to put a mask on the patient and the staff and the doctor when they are assessing the patient. That's important advice," Professor Murphy said.

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Passengers wearing masks are seen at Beijing airport in China. About 100 schoolchildren are among the Australian citizens that are stranded in Wuhan, which has been placed into lockdown by the Chinese government to contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak .

Worldwide health challenges serve as a grave warning to those who would bury their heads in isolationism.

"We are investigating the supply issue. If it is difficult and impossible for some of them to get them, we will make sure they will get them."

Health Minister Greg Hunt said there was a national medical stockpile of 12 million masks which would be sent where they were needed.

"We will work to make sure that everybody who needs them has them," he said.

But Professor Murphy said there was no need for widespread quarantining and called for people who had recently returned from China to "be treated like any normal member of the community unless they develop symptoms" of the virus.

"The main message that we're trying to give still to the Australian public is that there is no cause for concern," he said.

"There is no human to human transmission of this virus and it is important to know because we had media ask about masks today.

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Amid the coronavirus outbreak , the US State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had But with cases now reported in 11 other countries and travelers from various cities in China arriving to the US and other nations in masks , anxieties over transit and travel are high.

The coronavirus ’s ability to spread appears to be getting stronger, the country’s health commission AFP saw some patients inside the hospital who were without masks , despite city orders that anyone Based on numbers during the Sars outbreak in 2003, three months of reduced travel from China

"There is no need for the Australian public to wear masks.

"The only people who should wear masks in relation to this … virus are those who are unwell.

"Those who come back from China in the last two weeks and who have developed flu-like symptoms, they need to call ahead to their GP or emergency department and tell of their travel history and get tested.

"We're testing a large number of people across the country every day.

"The majority of them are negative as we always expected it to be, but we do expect that it is likely we might find some more positives over the next few days, but we are extremely well prepared."

The Government's Smart Traveller website has updated its travel advice for China, telling Australians not to travel to and from Hubei province, where the virus originated.

The advice level for the rest of China remains normal.

There have been five confirmed cases of the virus in Australia, four of them in New South Wales.

A Queensland boarding school has told parents that 10 students who recently returned from mainland China will be quarantined on a single floor of its boarding house for 10 days.

Doctor who sent coronavirus warning message in December reprimanded by Chinese authorities .
He was forced to sign a statement that said his behaviour was "illegal".Dr Li Wenliang wrote in an online group chat to his medical school classmates that patients were "quarantined in the emergency department" due to a mystery illness.

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