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Australia now has 13 confirmed case of the deadly coronavirus

Photo: Aust virus infection hits 13 after boy, 8
An eight-year-old boy travelling in Australia has the coronavirus, taking the infection rate to 13 people, as the government gets ready for more evacuees.

Australia now has 13 confirmed case of the deadly coronavirus after an eight-year-old boy was isolated in a Queensland hospital.

The child, from Wuhan which is the epicentre of the virus outbreak in the central China province of Hubei, was a member of a tour group travelling in Australia in late January.

Two other people from that group, a man, 44, and a woman, 42, also had the virus and Queensland health authorities had been scrambling to contact other people on their flights in case the infection had spread.
"The child remains in isolation at the Gold Coast University Hospital and is currently stable," the state's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said.

The case of the boy takes the number of confirmed case in Queensland to three, adding the four cases in each of NSW and Victoria and two in South Australia. The nation infection rate now stands at 13 people.

Meanwhile, another group of 50 Australians stranded in Wuhan are expected to leave the Chinese city on Wednesday on an Air New Zealand flight evacuating up to 100 Kiwis and a number of Pacific islanders to Auckland.

From there, the Australians will be transferred to quarantine on Christmas Island, off the north-west coast of Western Australia, where they will join about 241 citizens and permanent residents who arrived there on Monday and Tuesday.

Another couple, a man and heavily pregnant woman, were isolated at a Perth hospital because there are no maternity services on the island.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said it was likely the Australians on the Air NZ flight will be met by officers from Australian Border Force and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade when they arrive in Auckland late Wednesday afternoon local time.

"The advice I have is that if they are to come to Australia, if they're not housed in New Zealand, then ... we'll be supporting them on Christmas Island," he said.

So far, there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus infection among the men, women and children already on Christmas Island, where they are being held for up to two weeks.

A team of specialist doctors and nurses is closely monitoring the evacuees, who were flown out of Wuhan on a Qantas flight on Monday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government was working with Chinese authorities on a possible second assisted departure flight for Australians seeking to leave Wuhan.

Up to 600 Australians initially registered for the evacuation flights home but some have decided to remain in Wuhan. It's not clear how many might join the next flight.

Globally, 426 people - mostly Chinese citizens - have died from the virus, including one death in the Philippines. The number of confirmed cases stands at 20,630.


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