Victorian Health Minister, Jenny Mikakos said today a Chinese national in Melbourne is the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Australia.
It’s believed two further “probable infections” are being treated in New South Wales.
Jenny Mikakos, said the man, a Chinese national, arrived in Melbourne at 9am on Sunday 19 January on China Southern Airlines Flight No CZ321 from Guangzhou.
The man tested positive early on Saturday morning. He had visited a GP on Thursday and went the Monash medical centre at Clayton on Friday, where he was put into isolation.
The man showed no symptoms on the flight, “so may not have been contagious” at the time, Mikakos said. But “out of an abundance of caution” health officials were contacting everybody who was on the plane.
“There is no reason for alarm in the general community,” Mikakos said. “We have strict protocols that are in place in terms of how we deal with these infectious disease outbreaks.”
Mikakos said the infected man and his family “did everything right”.
However Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos believes Australia needs to put a ban on all airplanes from China coming into the country.
Meanwhile Australia’s chief medical officer, Prof Brendan Murphy, said the man in Melbourne confirmed as having coronavirus had visited Wuhan province but had come to Australia on a direct flight from Guangzhou to Melbourne.
He said “there are potentially others like this person … who was well when he travelled”, but that there was “no evidence this virus is being transmitted in Australia”.
“At this stage there is no risk to the general Australian community,” Murphy said.
But he said there was significant potential for more cases in Australia.
China has widened restrictions on movement, expanding its unprecedented lockdown during the country’s new year holiday period to 13 cities, covering at least 36 million people.
Late on Friday, authorities confirmed a further 15 deaths and 180 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of fatalities to 41 people and more than 1,000 people affected.
Cases have been reported in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, the United States, Thailand and Vietnam. On Friday, the first cases were reported in Europe with France saying it had identified three cases.