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‘Australians shouldn’t panic’: Coronavirus declared a global health emergency as third Victorian case confirmed

3AW News

Image: Don Arnold / Stringer

The World Health Authority has declared coronavirus a global health emergency, as the deadly virus spreads outside China.

It comes as a third case of the virus was confirmed in Victoria.

The infected woman, a Chinese national aged in her 40s, is in isolation at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Another eight people in Victoria awaiting the results of their tests for coronavirus.

Almost cases of the disease have been confirmed worldwide, with the vast majority of them in China.

The virus has killed 170 people.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there are fears the virus will reach countries which lack the capability to effectively stop the spread.

“Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems and which are ill prepared to deal with it,” he said.

“Let me be clear, this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China.”

Nine cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Australia; three in Victoria, four in NSW, and two in Queensland.

CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia, Terry Slevin, told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell the declaration shouldn’t give reason for Australians to panic.

“It changes the recommendations coming from WHO to increase powers that countries can use to help control the spread of the virus,” he said.

“For the most part it is actually designed to help those countries with the weaker health system that don’t have the systems in place.

“In Australia we have among the best disease control mechanisms, as soon as this thing broke the Australian Health System swung into action very efficiently.

“To a large extent this actually doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to the way it has been dealt with in Australia.”



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