Five Qld patients await deadly virus test results

FIVE patients are awaiting test results for the deadly coronavirus in Queensland as authorities chase down others who've had contact with confirmed cases.

A Queensland Health spokesman said results were due back late this afternoon, following nine others testing negative in recent days.

Authorities are today contacting four people who were on the same flight as a man in Victoria who became Australia's first confirmed case.

They'll be tested too if any are exhibiting signs of sickness.

Authorities are also tracing whether anyone in Queensland was exposed to three other people in NSW who have also tested positive for the potentially-deadly virus.

There are four confirmed cases of the deadly virus in Australia, across two states, as Queensland's chief health officer warns the disease poses a serious threat to the state.

A Chinese national visiting Melbourne was yesterday confirmed as the first case in Australia, with another three men in NSW last night testing positive to the virus - which has killed at least 41 people in China.

Health authorities in Queensland are awaiting the results of a patient who is being assessed for the virus, after five others were yesterday given the all-clear.

Queensland Health is also hunting for Queenslanders who were aboard the flight from China with the infected man in Victoria to determine if they need testing as well.

The State Health Emergency Coordination Centre has been stood up to address the threat, with state Health Minister Steven Miles ordering hospital visits be free of charge for foreign citizens suspected of carrying the virus.

The Health Department is co-ordinating officials to meet all passengers travelling from anywhere in China direct to Queensland to give them health information when they arrive in the country.

Air crew and passengers arriving from China wore masks at Brisbane Airport yesterday. Picture: John Gass/AAP
Air crew and passengers arriving from China wore masks at Brisbane Airport yesterday. Picture: John Gass/AAP

Mr Miles yesterday met with his state and federal counterparts to discuss the response to the virus, which is believed to have now infected more than 1000 people across 11 countries.

"Queensland is currently taking all precautions to quickly identify anyone who might have this new strain of coronavirus," he said.

"The most important thing right now is that we identify and treat people, and I don't want cost to be a barrier."

Redeemer Lutheran College on Brisbane's southside this week sent out a letter to parents, urging them to seek advice from their GP before attending school if they or their family had travelled through the affected region.

"Students who are symptomatic will need to remain home until receiving written clearance from their treating doctor," the letter said.

Health authorities in Victoria yesterday confirmed a Chinese national in his 50s had tested positive to coronavirus after he had flown from China on January 19.

He had been in Wuhan, the city of 11 million people that has been the epicentre of the outbreak, before catching a flight to Melbourne via Guangzhou.



The man, who had travelled alone on China Southern Airlines flight CZ321, is currently in isolation at the Monash Hospital in Clayton. All passengers who were on his flight are expected to be notified.

Another three men in NSW tested positive last night, including one understood to be aged in his 30s and another in his 50s. They are being treated at Westmead Hospital in isolation.

Chief health officer Jeannette Young said the state was taking all precautions and the disease "poses a serious threat to Queensland".

State Education Minister Grace Grace yesterday said Queensland Health required no action from her department or the state's schools.

Last night, Queensland Health confirmed nine patients had so far been assessed for the virus in the past week, and all had been cleared. One patient was still awaiting their test results, which are due back today.

The virus is believed to have spread from animals to humans through the Wuhan South China Seafood City Market, which sells chickens, bats, marmots and other wild animals.