Brisbane Man Under Quarantine With Symptoms Of SARS-Like Coronavirus
Almost 300 people in China have been infected by the new strain of coronavirus and at least four people have died as a result, according to CNN. Officials believe it came from Wuhan, about 850 kilometres west of Shanghai, but cases have now been reported in Thailand, Japan and South Korea.
A Queensland Health spokesperson said:"Because the man travelled to Wuhan, coronavirus is one of the conditions he is being tested for. The man will remain in isolation until his symptoms have resolved.
"We urge anyone who has developed any respiratory symptoms within 14 days of travel to Wuhan to see their GP immediately."
It comes as Chinese medical authorities reveal the virus can be spread between humans.
The virus causes pneumonia - previously it was thought that you could only catch it if you interacted with certain animals.
But several doctors have been diagnosed with the virus after treating patients with the same illness, according to ABC.
Australia has announced that it will step up security screenings at airports for people arriving from China, but citizens have been warned that there is still a lot to be learned about the virus.
Australia's chief medical officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, said: "You cannot absolutely prevent entry into the country of a disease like this. There's no way of preventing this getting into the country if this becomes bigger.
"We're doing some careful modelling to see if there are any other flights from China that have a high proportion of Wuhan-origin passengers, and we may consider expanding that too.
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"But we have to do the analysis to find out where they come from, because there are apparently 160 flights from China a week."
China has announced it is making the virus a top priority and will do everything it can to stop it from spreading to other countries.
President Xi Jinping said: "People's lives and health should be given top priority and the spread of the outbreak should be resolutely curbed."
One of the big issues with the virus is that it has a one-week incubation period, meaning patients might not know they have it before travelling somewhere and interacting with people.
Potentially compounding the situation, China's Lunar New Year begins this week, meaning there will likely be vast numbers of people travelling across the country to celebrate and see their families.
Wellcome Trust global health charity director Sir Jeremy Farrar said the outbreak of this illness couldn't have happened at a worse time.
"Wuhan is a major hub and with travel being a huge part of the fast-approaching Chinese New Year, the concern level must remain high," he said.
"There is more to come from this outbreak."
According to ABC, the virus is in the same family as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 800 people during an outbreak in 2002-03.
China was accused of keeping the virus a secret for weeks until scores of people became affected and it spread outside the country's borders.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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