Novel Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are very common viruses found worldwide in humans and animals.

They cause respiratory disease, including common colds. Coronaviruses, however, are also responsible for MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

Current status

As of 21 January 2020, more than 200 confirmed cases of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have been detected in the Wuhan region of China, and deaths.

Other cases have been detected in Shenzen and Beijing (China), Japan, Thailand and South Korea. Most of these individuals have reported travel to Wuhan.

Like other communicable diseases, people with symptoms should practice simple hygiene by covering coughs and sneezes and washing their hands thoroughly.

When to see your doctor

If you have travelled to Wuhan City in the past 14 days and have a fever and respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat or shortness of breath), please call ahead and book in to see a doctor.

Sydney is the only Australian destination with direct flights from Wuhan, with three flights arriving per week. That is why NSW Health is supporting Commonwealth biosecurity efforts at Sydney airport. Advice is being provided to travellers who land in Sydney so that they know what to do if they become unwell. Passengers from Wuhan who are unwell on arrival will be assessed at the airport by NSW Health.

NSW hospitals and GP clinics

Health workers in NSW public hospital emergency departments as well as community-based general practitioners have already been issued advice on symptoms and actions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus through careful infection control measures.

Further, the Westmead Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research (ICPMR) laboratory has developed pathology testing that will detect the new coronavirus.

Infection with the new coronavirus is now a notifiable condition under the NSW Public Health Act, so all cases and suspected cases must be reported by doctors to NSW Health public health authorities who will work to prevent spread of the infection to others.

NSW Health activity

NSW Health has developed and exercised a range of procedures for case finding, diagnosis, and contact tracing for high consequence infectious diseases (such as pandemic influenza, SARS, MERS, and emerging infections) should they occur in NSW.

Above information has been provided by Health NSW
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