Australia: Twelve coronavirus cases confirmed as Australia quarantines China arrivals

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Mandatory credit: Parliament of Australia

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed that 12 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in Australia. He made the comments during a press conference in Canberra on Sunday.

Hunt went on to state that New South Wales has indicated that a third patient has been discharged from hospital after having cleared the virus. “I think that’s a very important sign of progress,” Hunt said.

He also outlined some of the checks Australian authorities have implemented at the country’s airports. “At the airports, masks and screening processes have been carried out and carried out very smoothly.”

The health minister also detailed plans to evacuate Australian citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan to Christmas Island. “The personnel are in place to receive the passengers from Wuhan and we expect that that flight should be collecting within the next 24 hours,” he stated.

“The AUSMAT [Australian Medical Assistance Team] team will accompany the flight to Wuhan to assist with any screening or rather [any] medical detection services at the point of embarkation but in addition to that they will be on the flight to make sure that all the protocols are followed and finally to ensure that if any passenger were to fall sick that they would immediately [be] taken care of,” he added.

Professor Brendan Murphy, Australia’s chief medical officer, went on to outline stringent new quarantine measures for arrivals from China. “We and other countries have now broadened our definition of the cases of potentially infected people to include anyone who has been in mainland China who has relevant symptoms,” he stated.

“That extends to our travel warning and it also means that given that we have undertaken a precautionary approach to quarantine people who had come back from affected areas, that used to apply to just to Hubei province, but now it is applying to people who have come from mainland China from the 1st of February,” he added.

Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families are exempt from the restrictions, officials say.

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