Coronavirus: Australia confirms 13 cases

Melbourne: According to the health ministry website, as of Feb 5, 13 cases of 2019-nCoV have been confirmed in Australia: 4 in New South Wales, 4 in Victoria, 3 in Queensland, and 2 in South Australia.

Of the 12 previously reported cases, three have recovered. The others are in a stable condition, according to the media statement.

Australian health authorities are testing another 213 people who show symptoms of the virus.

Questions about testing, and about the welfare of people with the virus, should be directed to state and territory health authorities.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations Emergency Committee has declared the outbreak of 2019-nCoV a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

What the government is doing

The Australian Government is taking a highly precautionary approach based on the latest and best medical advice.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) meets daily to make recommendations to adapt Australia’s response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak.

“We have in place border, isolation, surveillance and case tracing mechanisms. Our health emergency response arrangements are flexible and scalable. They will be tailored to respond to the situation as we learn more about the virus and how it spreads,” the statement said.

The Government is also providing advice to Australians about the novel coronavirus, based on the latest medical advice.

The advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for travel to mainland China is ‘level 4 – do not travel’.

On the advice of the AHPPC and the Communicable Diseases Network Australia, the Prime Minister applied the following travel restrictions to people entering Australia having left mainland China after 1 February 2020:

foreign nationals (excluding permanent residents of Australia) who are in mainland China, will not be allowed to enter Australia until 14 days after they have left or transited through mainland China

Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family will still be able to enter Australia, as well as airline crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment

Bringing Australian citizens home

The Government and Qantas have assisted 243 Australians who wished to leave Wuhan.

241 evacuees have been transferred to Christmas Island and a pregnant woman and her partner have been transferred to Perth. They are in isolation.

All repatriated Australians and their families are being well looked after. They are being provided all necessary health care throughout their stay, by a highly skilled and well-equipped Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT).

The Australian Government also worked with New Zealand to facilitate the departure from Wuhan of an additional 35 Australians on an assisted flight. The flight left Wuhan early this morning.

After 14 days and once medically cleared, the Australian Government will enable quarantined people to return to their homes in Australia.

An indefinite number of Australians, including dual nationals, remain in Wuhan or in Hubei Province.

The Australian and Chinese Governments are also working together on a possible second assisted departure from Wuhan to Australia for these people.