November 25, 2020

Wuhan virus: Australia declares first confirmed case

2 min read

MELBOURNE: Australia declared on Saturday (Jan 25) its first confirmed case of the Wuhan coronavirus in the state of Victoria, with the patient hospitalised in a stable condition in a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria health officials said.

The Chinese national, in his 50s, arrived from China on Jan 19 on a flight from Guangzhou, Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos told journalists.

“It is important to stress that there is no cause for alarm to the community,” Mikakos said. “The patient is isolated and is undergoing treatment and we do not have any further suspected cases at this stage.”

Victoria’s acting Chief Health Officer Angie Bone said the patient is not in intensive care.

“He is stable and not in a very serious condition,” she said.

The first tennis Grand Slam event of the year, the Australian Open, is presently taking place in Melbourne. 

Australians were urged on Saturday not to travel to the Hubei province in China, with the government issuing its most severe travel advisory.

“Strict travel restrictions have been imposed in Wuhan and a number of other cities in Hubei province,” Australia’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “If you travel to Hubei province at this time you may not be allowed to depart until travel restrictions are lifted.”

Australia is a popular destination for Chinese. It saw about 1.4 million short-term arrivals from China last year – the largest source of foreign visitors to the country.

READ: Wuhan virus outbreak – At a glance

Chinese authorities on Saturday said the total number of cases in the country stood at 1,287, with 41 deaths so far

The newly identified coronavirus has created alarm because there are still many unknowns surrounding it such as how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. It can cause pneumonia, which has been deadly in some cases. 

MORE: Our coverage on the Wuhan virus and its developments

Symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing and coughing. Most of the fatalities have been in elderly patients, many with pre-existing conditions, the WHO said.

The virus has also spread to densely populated South Asia, where Nepal confirmed one case, and Europe, where three cases were reported in France.