Australia records tenth coronavirus case

A woman who returned to Australia from the central Chinese city of Wuhan is the country's tenth confirmed case of the coronavirus, local health authorities confirmed on Saturday.

The patient, whose name has not been released for privacy reasons, is reportedly a resident of the state of Victoria and Australia's second-largest city Melbourne and aged in her 20s. 

The woman, who saw a doctor on Thursday, was deemed well enough to remain in isolation at home. 

Australia's first suspected case of the virus was reported on January 21. 

In a statement released a short time ago Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Brett Sutton, said the woman had tested positive to the virus on Friday. 

“After spending time in Wuhan, Hubei Province, she returned home to Victoria on January 25 and became unwell two days later,” he said.

“The woman is not considered to have been infectious on her flight to Melbourne.

“Since then, she has remained at home and isolated and has had no visitors.

“There are therefore no public exposure sites and the department has not identified any close contacts that require follow up.

Dr Sutton said the Melbourne resident is now "recovering at home with the respiratory illness". 

A total of 13 cases of coronavirus are still out for testing in Australia's second-most populous state alone. 

There have been more than 11,700 cases of the virus in China, an epidemic that experts say began in the 11 million person city of Wuhan. 

The Australian Government faced backlash this week after announcing a plan to fly its citizens out of Wuhan in a bid to protect them from contracting the virus.

The Government's plan was to have the evacuees quarantined on Christmas Island, a piece of Australian territory far off the mainland.

People were also asked to pay for the costs of their evacuations, a measure which drew criticism 

The country's Former Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, who was appointed by the previous Government, told local media: "Australian citizens deserve better from their Government."

Meanwhile, a case of the virus suspected to have been contracted by a patient in Auckland Hospital in New Zealand has proven to be a false alarm.

Kiwi health authorities had said the patient fit the symptoms of the virus, unlike a previous five patients were placed in isolation units as a precaution but were not thought to have contracted the disease. 

Vaccinologist Dr. Helen Petousis Harris told the Samoa Observer said that the potential implications for the virus' spread across the Pacific remained largely unknown.

"Can it be transmitted when people don't have symptoms?," she said.

"These are key things we don't know."

Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?