Brisbane man quarantined as Australia steps up measures to stop spread of deadly SARS-like virus
A Brisbane man has quarantined in his home and is being tested for a deadly new coronavirus which has killed four people and infected more than 220.
The man had recently returned home from the Chinese province of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected.
It comes just hours after health authorities announced tougher border security and biosecurity measures in a battle to keep the deadly disease out of Australia.
Australian Chief Health Officer Brendan Murphy today announced the three direct flights arriving in Sydney from Wuhan each week will be met by biosecurity staff. No direct flights operate into any other Australian cities.
The disease, which is in the same family as the SARS virus, is believed to have spread from animals to humans in a wet market in the Chinese city.
Chinese authorities have confirmed the disease passes from person to person.
But infectious diseases specialist, Dr Irani Thevarajan, said health authorities as much better placed to reduce the spread of the disease than they were during the SARS outbreak in 2003.
“We’ve learnt a lot from SARS, we’ve learnt a lot from the other outbreaks we’ve had,” she told 3AW’s Ross and John.
“The information that is actually available to both the medical and the public health community, it is much more prompt, it’s efficient, we’re much better connected than we were during the SARS experience.”
Symptoms of the disease include high fever, cough, sore throat and breathlessness.
There is currently no treatment available, but laboratories around the world have the capability to diagnose the disease.
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Image: STR / Getty