Deadly outbreak: SARS-like coronavirus death toll rises to 17 as fears of spread grow
The death toll from a new coronavirus in China has risen to 17, as fears of the spread of the disease grow.
In Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, hospitals have been swamped with suspected cases of the deadly SARS-like disease.
Health workers are now wearing full-body protective suits after more than a dozen medical staff were infected with the disease.
Chinese health officials have advised residents of Wuhan not to leave, and others to avoid visiting the area.
The public transport network in the city has also been shut down as authorities battle to contain the outbreak.
But the measures come after many in China have already travelled to other regions ahead of the lunar new year.
Australian authorities have also ramped up measures to try and stop the virus spreading to Australia.
Three direct flights from Wuhan into Australia operate weekly.
Passengers on the three flights, which all land in Sydney, are being met by border security and biosecurity officials upon arrival, for screening.
A Brisbane man who had recently spent time in Wuhan was quarantined in his home on Monday, after showing symptoms of the virus.
He has now had the quarantine lifted.
On Tuesday, Australia’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, warned the virus has “pandemic potential”.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “while Australians should remain alert, they should not be alarmed”.
We have the best health system in the world and we are prepared to deal with this situation. While Australians should remain alert, they should not be alarmed.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 22, 2020