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Virus second wave fears likely as authorities identify new symptoms

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Lack of taste and smell have been newly identified as symptoms to look for after some people listed those as the first things they noticed before their coronavirus diagnosis.

There are fears Australia could be struck down by a second coronavirus wave after a second Black Lives Matter protester tested positive to COVID-19.

Health authorities have also added a lack of taste and smell to the list of coronavirus symptoms as they make a fresh appeal for people to come forward for testing.

There was "still the potential" for more cases to emerge from the protests in Melbourne on June 6.

"The incubation period generally is between five to seven days, but we do know it can stretch out as far as 10-14," Chief nursing and midwifery officer Alison McMillan told Today.

"We're really keen to encourage anyone who went to those protests if they have any symptoms at all, please stay home and get tested."

Lack of taste and smell have been newly identified as symptoms to look for, she said.

"Recently we've added the loss of taste and smell to the diagnosis because we can definitely see now in the evidence that some people do - that's the first thing they experience."

A medical worker places a sample from a person in a tube at a drive-through COVID-19 pop-up testing clinic at the Keilor Community Hub in Melbourne.

The female protester who attended the rally nearly two weeks ago was one of 12 new cases announced by Victoria Health on Monday.

Of the other new cases of COVID-19, seven are linked to a family outbreak in the suburbs of Coburg, Broadmeadows and Pakenham.

That includes four school children, two who attended St Dominic's School in Broadmeadows and two others at Pakenham Springs Primary School.

Both schools remain closed for on-site learning.

Despite this, schools were safe for children and teachers Ms McMillan said.

Pakenham Springs Primary School were told to stay at home after two students were diagnosed with the virus.

"We know that of the more than 7,000 cases we've seen in Australia, less than two per cent of those have been associated with school-age children," McMillan said.

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"They more than likely, although we need to wait till all the contract tracing has been done, got it through their family contacts and they went to school. But we need to wait to see that."

The Victorian cases, along with three new confirmed cases in NSW on Monday, was evidence community transmission remains likely, she said.

"A second wave is where we see large numbers increasing and where we couldn't quickly contain those outbreaks or those small clusters," Ms McMillan said.

Coronavirus testing

"Now, we're nowhere near that at the moment, but that's because of the terrific work that everyone continues to do and we need to keep doing that.

"Stay home if you're sick, the physical distancing, the strict hand hygiene, the cough etiquette, all those things are going to help us prevent any resurgence or any second wave with the community. 

"Just because we're seeing lower numbers doesn't mean we can stop doing those things."

Source: 9News

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