SYDNEY: Australia will start screening passengers arriving from a Chinese language metropolis in a bid to cease the unfold of a brand new virus, the nation’s chief medical officer stated on Tuesday, though authorities warned that an outbreak could be laborious to stop.
Chinese language authorities have confirmed greater than 200 individuals have caught the coronavirus, which may trigger a sort of pneumonia that has killed 4 individuals within the central metropolis of Wuhan.
The virus – which may move from individual to individual – broke out in Wuhan however 4 circumstances have been reported in Thailand, Japan and South Korea, elevating issues about its unfold via worldwide air journey.
Brendan Murphy, the chief medical officer for the Australian authorities, stated biosecurity officers would start screening passengers arriving on the three weekly flights to Sydney from Wuhan beginning on Thursday.
Passengers could be given an info pamphlet and requested to current themselves if that they had a fever or suspected they could have the illness.
Murphy stated the measures solely provided restricted safety.
“You can not completely forestall the unfold of illness into the nation. The incubation interval might be every week,” Murphy informed reporters in Canberra.
“It’s about figuring out these with a excessive threat and ensuring those that have a excessive threat find out about it and know easy methods to get medical consideration.”
China is the most important supply of vacationers to Australia, with greater than 1 million individuals arriving final yr.
Round 160 flights arrive in Australia from China every week, and Murphy acknowledged Chinese language vacationers may arrive through different areas. There are solely three flights from Wuhan every week, arriving in Sydney.
Australia’s extra screenings come as lots of of thousands and thousands of Chinese language put together to journey domestically and overseas through the Lunar New 12 months vacation that begins this week.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged Australians to stay calm.
“We’re effectively ready to reply to this case and we are going to proceed to watch and take motion the place mandatory,” Morrison tweeted.
The federal government would elevate its journey advisory for Wuhan to induce Australians to rethink travelling to the town, he added.
Regardless of the elevated threat, Murphy stated Australia wouldn’t start scanning passengers for larger physique temperatures, a precaution beforehand used through the Extreme Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.
SARS killed practically 800 individuals globally through the 2002/03 outbreak that additionally began in China, however Murphy stated current proof indicated body-temperature screening was ineffective and created a false sense of safety.