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Monday 27 January 2020

Pamphlets will make sure Australians are safe from coronavirus

Are Australians safe from the fast-spreading coronavirus? The Federal Government is relying on pamphlets to do the job.

China's health ministry said on Monday that "it seems like the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger.”

Despite five cases already in Australia - the latest on a flight from Wuhan - the Government of Scott Morrison has ruled out screening all incoming passengers from China, or temporarily halting flights.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said: “Every flight is being met by officials, and officials I’m advised, will be boarding the flights and ensuring each individual who has travelled on those flights is directly receiving information."

That means they are given a pamphlet advising them to contact a doctor if they feel unwell.

Announcements are also being made in airport arrival halls.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said closing Australia’s borders due to coronavirus “would be a very significant step”.

The virus, which started in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has now claimed 80 lives in China and infected over 2700 people.

The Chinese government has also reported five cases in Hong Kong and two in Macao. Small numbers of cases have also been found in Thailand, Taiwan Japan, South Korea, the US, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal and France.

Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy told The New Daily he had sent a letter to every GP in Australia, asking them to consider any recent arrival from Wuhan with flu-like symptoms a potential coronavirus case.

“They will probably turn out to be negative, but they should be treated that way, isolated and then referred to the nearest emergency department with calling ahead,” Dr Murphy told the ABC.

China’s National Health Commission said the incubation period for the virus could range from one-to-14 days, during which infection can occur.

But it is OK. The Government says everything in Australia is under control and it has a terrific track record in emergencies. Oops. Sorry.

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