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Sydney Airport passengers sent for coronavirus tests as evacuation plane nears Australia

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Six passengers who landed at Sydney Airport from China today have been sent for coronavirus tests.

Six passengers who landed at Sydney Airport from China today have been sent for coronavirus tests.

The sick Sydney Airport travellers have been sent to Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for more investigations, as NSW health teams continue to screen thousands of arrivals.

Everybody travelling from China who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident is now banned from entering Australia - including thousands of international students.

NSW Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said everybody arriving from China is being checked for signs of illness.

"On Monday, today, as at 2pm, we screened another 1500 people returning from China," Dr Chant said.

"Six were referred to testing and we're expecting there'll be another 400 for screening as we'll be on duty until other planes arrive.

"We're taking a very precautionary approach to screening people with even very mild symptoms.

"As we've learned, this disease can have even mild presentation, so as not miss any cases at all we're taking this precautionary approach."

Dr Chant said there is no evidence of people catching the disease while travelling.

"There is no evidence of transmission outside acquisition, either through contact to a case from China, or a contact of a contact with confirmed disease which may have been contracted outside China," she said.

Yesterday 1680 people were screened at the airport.

Nine were sent for tests but all were negative.

Dr Chant said there were milder as well as more severe cases of the disease but no patients were so ill they needed intensive care.

Three of the four NSW patients diagnosed with the disease - two men aged 53 and 35 and a 21-year-old woman – have now been discharged from hospital.

Another 24 NSW cases are under investigation today.

CORONAVIRUS ON ADELAIDE FLIGHT

Passengers who travelled on a flight from China to Adelaide last month have been told to come forward, after a couple on the flight were diagnosed with the disease.

The couple, both aged 60 and stable in hospital, were on China Southern Airlines flight CZ663 from Guangzhou to Adelaide on January 21.

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While they told health staff they "self isolated", health bosses later re-interviewed them and discovered one of them had actually had symptoms on the flight.

Dr Nicola Spurrier from SA health, said passengers who were on the plane should come forward.

"What we'd like them to do is phone our communicable disease phoneline. I'm also in the process of setting up a email address," she said.

She said they would be going through the airline's manifesto to see where people were sitting, in case they were close to the couple.

She said people should be "reassured" they're following up all information.

Nurses are being sent to people's homes in the state to take samples to avoid them having to go out in public.

The number for people on the flight is 1300 232 27.

RESCUE PLANE FROM WUHAN

A flight rescuing hundreds of Australians trapped in the epicentre of the coronavirus in China will land in Australia this evening.

A total of 243 Australians, including 89 children and two infants, are aboard the Qantas flight, with 14 cabin crew and four pilots for the nine hour journey.

The 747 aircraft has departed from Wuhan, after a delay of 14 hours, with passengers then set to be transported to Christmas Island for a 14-day quarantine period.

The flight is due to arrive at RAAF base Learmonth, near Exmouth in Western Australia, about 3pm local time.

Vulnerable people were prioritised, and not everybody who wanted to leave made it onto the plane.

Passengers will then be flown on smaller planes to Christmas Island's quarantine centre.

Video has been released of tents being constructed on the island, by the Minister for Home Affairs.

Australian Medical Assistance Teams and equipment is now also on the island.

Qantas staff assigned to the flight volunteered for the role, with passengers required to go through health checks before boarding.

The entire upper deck of the 747 is reserved for the Qantas crew, with exposure between staff and passengers to be limited.

Meals and drinks were to be placed on seats before the flight departed to avoid direct contact between crew and passengers.

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All those on the flight are to wear surgical masks that will be changed hourly.

The plane will be cleaned once it has returned to Australia and crew will not be required to be quarantined after the flight.

"The aircraft has [20] medical grade filters on board which remove 99 per cent of all particles on the aircraft including viruses - a lot safer than public transport," Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said.

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"When the aircraft comes back to Sydney after this flight it's cleaned for three days, very deep cleaning to make sure that we have taken all risks out of future operations.

Mr Joyce added Qantas would not be immediately stopping all services from China to Australia because they needed to get people home.

"We have given a week to try to get back all the Australians that are in Shanghai and are in Beijing," he said.

"If we stopped them immediately, we would have the same problem in Shanghai and Beijing where we would have a lot of Australians that couldn't get home. So, we are keeping them going until the 9th to try to clear the backlog."

NEW MEASURES IN QUEENSLAND

Nurses are meeting all flights coming into Queensland from mainland China and Hong Kong to check passengers for coronavirus symptoms.

Anyone suspected of the virus will be told to isolate themselves for two weeks.

Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said four nurses met the first flight from China at 5.30am on Sunday.

"They will check their temperature to make sure they don't have a fever and ask their about symptoms," she told Brisbane Times.

"They will also provide advice that they need to go into home isolation to give them contact details and to make sure that is all in place.

"We expect it won't continue for long, in that the number of flights has already significantly decreased ... but there will still be Queenslanders and permanent residents coming home."

There have been two confirmed coronavirus cases in Queensland, a 44-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman who remain in a stable condition in Gold Coast University Hospital.

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On Saturday Victoria confirmed its fourth case of the disease, bringing the national total to 12.

FIRST CORONA DEATH OUTSIDE OF CHINA

China has ramped up measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic and shore up its economy, as the first death from the illness was reported outside the country.

The Philippine Department of Health said a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan was hospitalised on January 25 with a fever, cough and sore throat and died after developing severe pneumonia.

The coronavirus as seen under a microscope.

Hubei Vice Governor Xiao Juhua told a news conference the virus outbreak was still "severe and complicated".

A total of 304 people have died in China, the country's National Health Commission said on Sunday.

Infections in China jumped to 14,380 as of Saturday, after their biggest daily rise, the commission added.

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At least another 171 cases have been reported in more than two dozen other countries and regions, including the US, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Britain.

Beijing is facing mounting isolation as countries introduce travel restrictions, airlines suspend flights and governments evacuate their citizens, risking worsening a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

China's central bank said it would inject a hefty 1.2 trillion yuan ($A258 billion) worth of liquidity into the markets via reverse repurchase operations on Monday, as the country prepares to reopen its stock markets after an extended Lunar New Year holiday.

Authorities have effectively quarantined Wuhan, sealing off roads and shutting down public transport.

The Chinese data on the numbers of infections and deaths suggests the new coronavirus is less deadly than the 2002-03 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

That epidemic killed nearly 800 people of the some 8000 it infected, although such numbers can evolve rapidly.

Nurses are meeting all flights coming into Queensland from mainland China and Hong Kong to check passengers for coronavirus symptoms.

Anyone suspected of the virus will be told to isolate themselves for two weeks.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/first-coronavirus-death-reported-outside-china-world-news/bf9622d1-2cca-4644-8f4d-74a02fdeb424

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