Australia will screen passengers arriving from China for symptoms of a new strain of coronavirus which has left three people dead and infected more than 400.
Security at airports is increased to monitor flights between Wuhan, China to Australia after it was confirmed that the virus can spread between humans.
There are three direct flights from the city to Sydney every week and each flight will be met by biosecurity staff.
A Brisbane man with symptoms of the deadly virus was placed into isolation after coming back from a trip to China. He will be kept at his home while waiting for the results.
The virus, which is related to SARS, has symptoms similar to pneumonia.
According to CNN, the death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 9. World Health Organization officials will assemble for an emergency meeting in Geneva to make a decision whether the outbreak constitutes a ‘public health emergency of international concern.’
Health authorities in China said that at least 440 cases had been confirmed across the country.
Washington state officials confirmed that the first case in the US. Cases have also been reported in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea, and suspected cases in Australia.
Brendan Murphy, Australia’s chief medical officer said the risk to the country is low. “There is no need for alarm and the risk to the Australian public from this novel coronavirus remains relatively low,” he told reporters.
“Although, we do need to keep a precautionary and active surveillance of the situation.”
Li Bin, China’s national health commissioner, said that the virus is mainly transmitted “through the respiratory tract,” adding that “there is possibility of viral mutation and further spread of the disease.”
Coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan in mid-December. It is in the same family of infections as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
The strain has been linked to a market in Wuhan, which was selling live animals and seafood.
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