Australia Testing First Suspected Case Of SARS-like Virus: Health Officials

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Man in Australia who had recently visited Wuhan and showed coronavirus symptoms is being tested for the new virus. Wuhan has been identified as ground zero.

Written By Shubham Bose | Mumbai | Updated On:

A man who has recently returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan is being quarantined in his Australian home after displaying symptoms similar to the SARS-like virus that is spreading across China, according to reports. Health officials reportedly claim this case to be the country's first suspected case of Coronavirus.

Chinese city the epicentre of new disease

The Chinese city of Wuhan is believed to be the starting point for the disease, or more specifically a seafood market in Wuhan. A Queensland Health spokesperson said that the Australian man had just recently returned from a trip to the city of Wuhan. The deadly coronavirus has already killed at least four people and can now spread from human contact according to Chinese state media.

Jeannette Young, who is Queensland's chief medical officer said that the man is now recovering with medical professionals standing by for the test results that would show if he had contracted the new virus. Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy told Australian local media that screening for the virus may soon be extended to cover all flights that are coming from China and are also carrying a lot of people from Wuhan. Presently there are only three direct flights between Wuhan and Australia and all three land in Sydney.

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Murphy said that there is a low risk to Australians but also that there would be no way of stopping the coronavirus from getting into the country if the virus gets any bigger. News of the first possible case of coronavirus comes just as the country heightened medical screenings of travellers.

WHO announces emergency meeting

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced on January 20 that it will assemble an emergency committee on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) under the International Health Regulations. The meeting will be headed by Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the members will meet on January 22 to decide whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, along with discussing the recommendations to manage the spread of the virus.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping said on January 20 that it is extremely crucial to take every step to measure and combat the new virus. Xi's remarks were aired by state broadcaster on the same day country reported a hike in the number of patients. Furthermore, the outbreak in China has reportedly come as the country enters its busiest travel period around Lunar New Year holidays. 

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