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Grappling With Coronavirus - The Latest In Australia

Photo: Coronavirus - what's happening in Aust?
Authorities are working to prevent the arrival of the potentially fatal coronavirus with no Australian cases yet confirmed.

A flight from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak - Wuhan in central China - touched down in Sydney on Thursday. Passengers and crew wore face masks and those who flagged concerns about their health had their temperature taken.

NSW Health had doctors and nurses experienced in infection control at the airport working alongside the Australian Border Force. Virology experts were also there.

No ill passengers were found on the flight. However, those exposed to the virus may not display flu-like symptoms for up to a week.

ARE THERE ANY CASES IN AUSTRALIA?
There have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia.

A Queensland man on Wednesday was cleared of the disease having fallen ill earlier this month when he returned to Brisbane from Wuhan.

One person in a NSW hospital is being investigated after returning from Wuhan in the past fortnight with flu-like symptoms.

Outbound travel from Wuhan has been banned and Australians have been encouraged to reconsider travelling to the city.

More than 570 cases have been confirmed in China causing 17 deaths. Cases have also been confirmed in Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and the United States.

IS THE DISEASE A SERIOUS THREAT?

Health authorities say the risk to the Australian public is relatively low but the World Health Organisation believes the virus is capable of limited human-to-human transfer.

There is no vaccine for the virus.

"We probably still don't have quite enough information on how virulent this virus is, how much contact you would have to have," Macquarie University health systems professor Janaki Amin told AAP on Thursday.

"We know coronaviruses spread through droplets, sneezing and coughing on each other, and coughing seems to be one of the symptoms of this infection."

ARE MASKS EFFECTIVE?

Not for those seeking to protect themselves from coronavirus.

"Masks used for the spread of infectious diseases are to stop infected people spreading it to others, not to protect you from infection yourself," Dr Amin said.

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