The outbreak of the deadly coronavirus out of China has prompted Perth Airport to increase screening for passengers returning from China to help prevent the virus from spreading to Western Australia.
The virus originated in Wuhan, China, and has killed 17 people and infected more than 544, mainly in China. But the outbreak has spread to at least six other countries, including the US.
A Queensland man feared to have contracted the virus has since been given the all clear.
“We are at this stage very much still learning about what this disease actually means and there is a lot of work by all authorities to get a better understanding of the severity and what the spread of the disease is likely to be,” Department of Health chief health officer Dr Andrew Robertson told WAtoday.
“At the moment we have not had any confirmed cases either in WA or Australia. Nationally there have been some suspected cases, but there have been no cases within Western Australia.
“If a person was to present with illness, if they were to have a fever, have a cough, they would be picked up and reported, and they are required to notify either on the plane or on arrival.
“They would then be referred to the biosecurity officers and if there was concern that they may have been exposed our biosecurity officers will become involved.
“There will be messaging at the airport from tomorrow which will outline … if you have been in Wuhan and have now developed a fever, cough or shortness of breath then you need to contact biosecurity.”
Airports in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea are also screening passengers for fever.
The Chinese Government has just taken the drastic step of putting the 11-million inhabitants of Wuhan in quarantine in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations that see millions of Chinese travel.
The order stops all public transportation, including city buses, trains, and ferries, prevents any buses or trains from coming into or leaving the city and grounds all planes at the Wuhan airport.