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Due to coronavirus outbreak, hospital operating theaters extend over weekends and during Easter

Photo: Virus extends Qld operating theatre hours
Operating theatres in Queensland hospitals will remain open over weekends and during the Easter holiday break to help battle a major coronavirus outbreak.

Queensland's hospital operating theatres will remain open over weekends and during Easter to ensure they can cope with any major outbreak of coronavirus as the first Australian dies from the illness.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said they needed to ensure any outbreak, which the state's chief health officer said was likely, did not put a strain on the hospital system.

"We will be running theatres through weekends and through the regular Easter shutdown to make sure as many people get treatment as soon as possible," Mr Miles said.
"We know that our hospitals and intensive care units will be very busy if a coronavirus outbreak occurs ... particularly around our usual peak activity in flu season in the middle of the year."

Mr Miles also said two of the three patients repatriated off the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, who had tested positive for coronavirus had been discharged.

However, a 78-year-old man who contracted the virus aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died.

Western Australia's Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson on Sunday confirmed the man died at Perth's Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in the early hours of the morning.

The man was diagnosed with COVID-19 about 10 days ago while in isolation at Howard Springs in the Northern Territory after being quarantined aboard the cruise ship and then flown out of Japan.

Queensland's chief health officer Jeanette Young said that anyone who had been overseas in the last two weeks and "have become unwell" should immediately see their GP.

She said the state has already tested 2700 people who had returned from China and they had all been negative but warned that an outbreak was inevitable.

"I expect we will see an outbreak of the epidemic in Queensland," she told reporters on Sunday.

She added that staff at a Gold Coast beauty salon did not also need to go into quarantine after their colleague was confirmed to have coronavirus after returning from Iran.

The woman returned to Australia from Iran on February 24.

"I've got no concerns about the people who were on the plane with that lady who returned from Iran because she was thoroughly well and she only developed full symptoms at 3pm on Thursday," she said.

"I'm very, very comfortable that there is no risk for anyone on the plane she travelled back to Australia with."


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