School students who were on the same flight as two people confirmed to have coronavirus have been isolated.
School students who were on the same flight as two people confirmed to have coronavirus have been isolated.

Students isolated amid flight virus fears

FOUR Queensland state school students are in isolation after travelling on the same Tiger Airways flight with two passengers who have confirmed cases of coronavirus.

The Courier-Mail understands students from Pacific Pines State Primary School and State High School, Crestmead State School and Kingston State College.

However, the students are not showing symptoms as of today and are in self-isolation as a precaution.

In a letter to parents of Kingston State College, the school community was informed that a "Year 8 student was on the flight", and were now in isolation as a "precautionary measure".

The department would not confirm if the students had been at school over the past two days.

It is understood a parent of Tamborine Mountain State School student is also in isolation after travelling on a Tiger Airways flight.

A Department of Education spokesman confirmed Crestmead State School and Kingston State College sent precautionary letters to families today about novel coronavirus.

"All Queensland state schools continue to follow advice from Queensland Health regarding

coronavirus," he said.

"As of 4pm today no Queensland state school student has a confirmed case, and no

Queensland state school has been closed."

News of the students being placed in isolation comes as Queensland Health takes extraordinary steps to prevent the spread of the disease.

The department has been given contact details of hundreds of Tigerair Australia passengers who travelled on the same aircraft, but on later flights, as the two confirmed coronavirus cases, who are in isolation at Gold Coast University Hospital.

They were part of a nine-member Chinese tour group who flew into the Gold Coast from Melbourne on Tigerair flight TT566 at 8.45pm on Monday. One of the two cases, a 44-year-old man, is understood to have been ill during the flight.

Tigerair has confirmed the aircraft the Chinese tourists were travelling on made 13 more flights before the plane underwent rigorous steam cleaning as a result of the man's positive test.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said although the danger to passengers travelling on later flights was considered "absolutely minimal", she could not say it was zero.

"When you cough or sneeze, and this gentlemen was symptomatic on the plane, you can cough or sneeze the virus particles," Dr Young said.

"They land on surfaces. This virus is not different to any other virus. It will survive in the atmosphere on surfaces for a certain length of time. We don't have firm advice about how long.

"Usually they dry out very quickly and there are no problems."

Dr Young said people travelling on the Tigerair flights "should in no way be alarmed at all" but should seek advice from a general practitioner if they developed respiratory symptoms in the next 14 days.

She repeated advice that people should regularly wash their hands to protect themselves from viruses.

"If you are unwell, stay home, cover your cough because that's how viruses spread," Dr Young said.

"It's about coughing and sneezing in the environment and it's about those viral particles landing on surfaces and other people coming along and touching those surfaces, touching their face."

She said people should phone 13 HEALTH if they needed any advice.


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