Second Queensland coronavirus case confirmed

 

ONE more member of a Chinese tour group has tested positive to the new coronavirus, taking the number of confirmed cases in Queensland to two.

The 42-year-old woman from Wuhan, the epicentre of a novel coronavirus outbreak, was travelling as part of a group of nine, including the state's first case - a man aged 44.

Her positive test takes the number of confirmed cases in Australia to 9, with four in NSW and three in Victoria.

The latest Queensland case is under quarantine at the Gold Coast University Hospital, where the other eight members of her tour group are also in isolation. Her condition is listed as stable.

Health authorities are working to contact dozens of travellers who shared a plane with the group into the Gold Coast from Melbourne at 8.45pm on Monday.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said they arrived on Tigerair Australia flight TT 566.

Dr Young said people sitting within two rows of the Chinese tour group would be asked to go into quarantine once they were found.

"We are going to be contacting every single passenger on that flight," she told a news conference.

However, she said the risks to other passengers were considered low.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young. Picture: Glenn Hunt, AAP.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young. Picture: Glenn Hunt, AAP.

Dr Young said Queensland's only other confirmed case of the novel coronavirus became ill on the plane, which had 172 passengers and crew on board.

She said the infected man, also described as "stable", became increasingly unwell at privately rented apartments in the same building as the luxury Peppers Broadbeach Resort, and rang for an ambulance. He arrived at the Gold Coast University Hospital at 3.30pm on Tuesday.

Queensland Health employees are working with resort management to advise other guests and staff of the situation.

"(The infected man) was in the hotel for less than 24 hours so we're just working through the absolute specifics of who he's been in contact with and for how long," Dr Young said.

The Chinese tour group travelled from Wuhan, in China's central Hubei Province, via Singapore, into Melbourne on January 22.

Although only two members have tested positive to the novel coronavirus, all nine travellers are being isolated in separate hospital rooms "as a precaution".

The new case comes as fears grow over the Wuhan virus, which has killed at least 170 people and infected more than 7700, mostly in mainland China.

"We do have isolation wards but at this stage, they're in separate rooms," Dr Young said. "If we end up with a larger number of cases, then we'd look at isolation wards. But that's not required at this stage."

Dr Young said Queensland Health was also investigating capacity in private hospitals "should it be needed" in coming months.

"We should plan for what might be needed but we're just dealing with what has to be done at the moment," she said. "We shouldn't get ahead of ourselves."

Dr Young said the Chinese National Women's football team, in Brisbane to train in the leadup to an Olympic qualifying tournament in Sydney, would be in quarantine until February 5.

The 32 team members, including players and support staff, are in isolation in the inner-city Westin Hotel.

But Dr Young said Queensland Health employees were working with the team to allow them to train in Brisbane, while keeping them separate from the public.

The Chinese players are due to play the Matildas, the Australian women's soccer team, at Bankwest Stadium, on Sunday week.

Despite describing the new coronavirus as a "serious health issue", Dr Young called for calm.

She said people who believed they may have the infection should wear a face mask, if possible, before going to a general practitioner or a hospital emergency department, to protect other people from contracting the virus.

"For anyone else at this stage, there is no need for face masks in the general community," she said.

People arrive from Shanghai into Brisbane International Airport. Pic Peter Wallis
People arrive from Shanghai into Brisbane International Airport. Pic Peter Wallis

 

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