SYDNEY - At least five people in Australia have tested positive for the coronavirus. The latest is a young Chinese student diagnosed in Sydney. Australia is increasing its border and biosecurity measures.
Medical authorities are warning it is likely there will be more confirmed cases in Australia of the potentially deadly coronavirus.
School children in New South Wales state have been told to stay away from class for two weeks if they have been in contact with a confirmed case of the disease. Symptoms of the virus include fever, difficulty breathing and coughing.
The coronavirus causes severe respiratory infection and there is no cure or vaccine. Most of the deaths have been of those with pre-existing respiratory problems, or the elderly.
Doctors in Australia are being urged to wear protective face masks when seeing patients who potentially carry the coronavirus.
It is thought to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.
Australia’s chief health officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, says, "We are starting to look at people who have come from parts of China other than Hubei as potentially at risk, although our focus still remains on that Hubei province of China, which is the epicenter and which is the only place where human to human transmission has been identified,” said Professor Brendan Murphy, Australia’s chief health officer.
Australia is also bracing for a slump in visitors from China, its biggest international tourist market, because of restrictions put in place to try to stop the spread of the disease.
The Australian government does not know how many of its citizens are caught in the vast quarantine lock-down area imposed by authorities in China. Reports have suggested that 100 Australians, including children, could be unable to leave.
Coronavirus cases have also been confirmed in several countries including Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Canada.