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  • NSW health authority to monitor travellers to China

    Author: AAP

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.

NSW's health authority will help federal biosecurity staff at Sydney Airport to monitor travellers returning from a Chinese city following an outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus.

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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.

While Australia's chief medical officer earlier said the risk to the Australian public from the virus is low and there's no need for alarm, the man has been isolated.


Occupational Therapist
SA Health, Limestone Coast Local Health Network
Occupational Therapist - Senior
Charters Towers Health Service

Australia has raised its travel advice for Wuhan, telling people to exercise a high degree of caution.

There are three flights a week from Wuhan into Sydney and each of these flights will be met by biosecurity staff from Thursday.

Information will be displayed across all other points of entry into Australia to warn people who develop symptoms to seek urgent medical attention.

NSW Health announced on Tuesday evening it will assist commonwealth biosecurity staff at Sydney Airport to monitor those returning from Wuhan.

No cases of the novel coronavirus have been detected in NSW, the department said in a statement.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said health officials are working with the federal government and other jurisdictions to monitor the situation in China.

"Sydney is a popular destination for people travelling from China especially around the time of the Lunar New Year, so up-to-date health advice is paramount," Mr Hazzard said in a statement on Tuesday.

Health workers in the state's public hospitals, as well as community-based GPs, have been given precautionary advice and the department has made novel coronavirus 2019 a notifiable disease under law.

NSW Health director of health protection Dr Jeremy McAnulty said advice is being given to people who may have already returned to the state from Wuhan, as symptoms may take up two weeks to develop.

These include a fever with respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, a cough or a sore throat.

"There is no need for alarm, but people should be aware of the emerging situation and if they develop symptoms on returning from affected areas overseas, they should call ahead before seeing their GP," Dr McAnulty said in a statement on Tuesday.

"This virus does not appear to spread easily between people, but anyone with symptoms should practise simple hygiene by covering their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their elbow and washing their hands thoroughly."


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