Coronavirus: New Zealanders shouldn’t be alarmed by Australia’s confirmed illness – MoH

He is understood to have presented himself to hospital on Monday after returning from China. While there he visited Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated from.

Victoria’s Minister of Health Jenny Mikakos is telling locals not to be alarmed as the man had limited contact with the public and is now in isolation.

A similar message is coming from New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, with director of public health, Dr Caroline McElnay says Kiwis shouldn’t be alarmed.

“At this point, it’s important to stress the risk to New Zealand from this first case in Australia appears very low as the patient has had very limited contact with anyone in Australia since arrival and followed advice that was given at the border regarding to seeking medical attention if unwell.”

The man travelled on two flights since visiting Wuhan. Authorities are now contacting passengers on one of them, flight CZ321 from Guangzhou to Melbourne on January 19.

McElnay says our officials will keep in touch with Australian authorities regarding those passengers. Already, New Zealand officials have been in a teleconference with our partners across the Tasman.

So far, no New Zealanders are reported to have the illness.

“All travellers to New Zealand who become sick within a month of their arrival are encouraged to seek medical advice and contact Healthline at 0800 611 116 or a doctor and share their travel history,” said McElnay.

“It is important to mention recent travel from Wuhan and any known contact with someone with severe acute respiratory illness who has been in Wuhan.

“As with all respiratory illnesses, people can take steps to reduce their risk of infection. This includes regularly washing hands, covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze, staying home if you are sick and avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms. ”

Health advice cards in traditional and simplified Chinese are available at international points of entry. These provide advice of symptoms of concern and how to get in contact with Healthline.

“With the support of New Zealand Customs, banners have been developed for points of entry in traditional and simplified Chinese to draw attention to the health advice cards.

“The Ministry is in regular contact with Chinese media in New Zealand and we are working with DHBs to provide information in Chinese on social media. ”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday it would not declare a global health emergency, despite cases of the virus being confirmed in Europe, as well as in the United States, Japan and Thailand.

WHO is yet to recommend any travel restrictions or border screenings, and New Zealand is yet to implement them.

Some experts suggest the impact of thermal screenings would be minimal in detecting the illness. It can sometimes take days for symptoms to manifest and screening doesn’t pin down the illness a person may have.

There are fears the virus is similar to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which killed nearly 800 people in the early 2000s.

The new coronavirus can spread by human-to-human transmission. However, little is known about the illness. There is currently no vaccine for it. Officials are now trying to understand how efficiently the virus can spread to understand its potential threat.

There are also concerns about the spread of the virus as China enters its busiest travel season with the start of the Chinese New Year. About 400 million people travel domestically and internationally during that period.

WHO was first informed of cases of the virus in Wuhan on December 31. It was identified as a coronavirus on January 7.