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Worst of coronavirus yet to hit Australia, experts fear

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Medical experts in Western Australia are warning the state needs to be prepared for coronavirus with fears up to a quarter of the population will become infected.

Medical experts in Western Australia are warning the state needs to be prepared for coronavirus with fears up to a quarter of the population will become infected.

The warning comes after the state confirmed a second case of coronavirus, the wife of the first coronavirus patient.

WA's chief health officer Andrew Robertson said the woman is in isolation at a Perth hospital and likely contracted the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Coronavirus

As more cases are confirmed across the globe, there are concerns Australia's already burdened health system won't be able to cope with the increased pressure placed on it when the worst of the pandemic hits the country.

"Our health care system is already running on edge – We have hospitals running on code black," Western Australia's AMA President Dr Andrew Miller told 9News today.

"We don't know how hard this thing is going to hit us when it arrives.

"There is a good chance we are going to be badly affected by this virus at some point and we need to be prepared for that."

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He said the message they want to get across is to not panic but be prepared, and that they are working with West Australia's government to ensure hospitals and medical centres are prepared for the worst.

"The AMA has been asking for answers on behalf of the medical community for some time now, like where are we going to get protective equipment and things to handle these cases – this is why we have been calling on answers from the government," Dr Miller said.

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The AMA is estimating at least 250,000 people in West Australia alone will contract coronavirus and while a vaccine is in the works, it could take 18 months before it is available to the public.

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Countries with confirmed cases of coronavirus.

"Australia will become infected with the coronavirus, there's no question about that – If we can get a vaccine or a treatment before it hits – then at least we are prepared," Dr Miller said.

"None of us are immune – this is a new bug. If we assume around a quarter of the population does get coronavirus, that is a quarter of a million cases WA's health system needs to be prepared to deal with."

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-fears-virus-could-infect-quarter-million-west-australians/f1b2f0af-e7e1-4708-9d24-995a77dcec4b

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