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Boy, 8, confirmed as third coronavirus case in Queensland

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

An eight-year-old boy has become the third confirmed case of coronavirus in Queensland.

Australia now has 13 confirmed case of the deadly coronavirus after an eight-year-old boy was isolated in a Queensland hospital.

The child, from Wuhan which is the epicentre of the virus outbreak in the central China province of Hubei, was a member of a tour group travelling in Australia in late January.

Two other people from that group, a man, 44, and a woman, 42, also had the virus and Queensland health authorities had been scrambling to contact other people on their flights in case the infection had spread.

"The child remains in isolation at the Gold Coast University Hospital and is currently stable," the state's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said.

It comes as it has been revealed that a heavily-pregnant woman was one of the 241 Wuhan evacuees to be transported to Christmas Island by Australian authorities for screening and quarantine, before she and her partner were sent back to Perth.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Steven Miles is rushing new laws through parliament to extend his existing health emergency order from one week to three months.

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"In order to fight the coronavirus and to keep Queenslanders safe, we need to be able to issue those public health emergency orders for longer periods," Mr Miles said.

The move will give health officers more time to require the quarantine or isolation of suspected coronavirus cases and force people to undergo medical checks and tests.

"This is a new virus and we are doing everything we can to stop its spread," Mr Miles told parliament.

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"We need to do everything we can to keep it that way."

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Under the laws, people can be formally required to stay at a certain location such as their home and ordered to stay away from other locations such as schools.

The bill was introduced into state parliament on Tuesday, the first sitting day of 2020.

Mr Miles wants it to pass parliament by Thursday. It would remain in place for 12 months and apply solely to the novel coronavirus.

Dr Jeanette Young, the state's Chief Health Officer, is urging anyone who has returned from mainland China in the past 14 weeks and who feels unwell to seek medical help immediately.

"This is for the safety of those individuals," she said.

"It's a very early stage of the development of this outbreak, so we don't fully understand what it means to people, so we really want to test people very early."

She said she was concerned federal government officials hadn't handed over all of its data relating to passengers who had flown from mainland China.

More than 400 people have been assessed for coronavirus since screening started at Brisbane International Airport on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a Sunshine Coast doctor is leading a team of medical experts treating hundreds of Australians evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan to Christmas Island on Monday.

Doctor Daniel Holmes is steering the team providing treatment while the group sits out 14 days of quarantine.

- With agencies

Source: 9News

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