Fears are growing for an elderly Australian who has been rushed into intensive care after being infected with coronavirus on the doomed Diamond Princess cruise ship.
The 78-year-old was one of 223 Australians quarantined on the ill-fated ship in Japan, and was flown to Darwin last Friday.
After tests showed the man had the deadly coronavirus, he was taken to his home state and is now in intensive care at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
The elderly man was evacuated with his wife, who does not have the virus, and was said to be a in a ‘serious but stable’ condition.
He is one of 23 people in Australia battling the virus, but there have been no deaths.
The ill-fated Diamond Princess cruise ship (pictured) was put into isolation in Japan, after passengers contracted the deadly coronavirus
Worldwide, the virus has wiped out more than 2,800 people and infected 82,000.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said the move into the intensive care unit was ‘precautionary’, and confirmed he had been in isolation at the hospital.
The hospital has four negative pressure rooms to treat coronavirus patients.
So far, two Japanese passengers who caught the virus on board the Diamond Princess have died.
Both were in their 80s, and suffered underlying health conditions.
At least 621 people on the ship tested positive for the virus, officially named Covid-19, making it the biggest cluster outside China.
It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared a coronavirus pandemic is ‘very much upon us’.
Launching an emergency plan on Thursday afternoon, he said the government were identifying ‘gaps in capabilities’ within Australia’s state-based health services.
Evacuees from the Diamond Princess (pictured) are seen arriving in Darwin after being rescued from the doomed cruise ship, which had been docked in Japan
Foreign embassies are seen lining up outside the Diamond Princess cruise ship (pictured) as citizens from across the world are finally being let off the boat
‘We believe that the risk of a pandemic is very much upon us,’ he told reporters in Canberra.
‘We need to take the steps necessary to prepare for such a pandemic.’
Speaking again on 2GB on Friday morning, he insisted that the public should ‘go about our business’.
He confirmed there are still 23 cases in Australia, eight of whom were on the Diamond Princess.
‘One of these is in a more serious condition in WA, we learnt today,’ he said.
‘But in the rest of the community we can go about our business.’
Crew members are seen aboard the doomed cruise ship, which has been docked in the Japanese port of Yokohama for weeks
Mr Morrison said that during the past 24 hours, the ‘rate of transmission of the virus outside of China is fundamentally changing the way we need to look at how this issue is being managed here in Australia’.
‘As a result, we’ve agreed today and initiated the implementation of the coronavirus emergency response plan,’ he said.
‘Based on the expert medical advice we have received, there is every indication the world will enter a pandemic phase of the coronavirus.’
At least 621 people on the ship (pictured) tested positive for the virus, officially named Covid-19, making it the biggest cluster outside China.
The Australian government has declared the emergency response plan a day after the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention forecast it would turn into a pandemic.
‘As a government, we need to take the steps necessary to prepare for such a pandemic,’ Mr Morrison said.
The elderly man is one of eight Australians evacuated from the cruise ship, which had been docked at Yokohama in Japan, who have tested positive for the disease.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 23
NEW SOUTH WALES: 4
- Three men aged 43, 53, and 35 who had recently travelled to China contracted the disease.
- Two flew in from Wuhan while the other arrived in Sydney from Shenzhen, south China.
- They were treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital
- A 21-year-old woman is identified as the fourth person to test positive for the illness in NSW.
- The woman, a student at UNSW, flew into Sydney International Airport on flight MU749 on January 23 and presented to the emergency department 24 hours later after developing flu-like symptoms.
- A Chinese national aged in his 50s becomes the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Australia.
- The man flew to Melbourne on China Southern flight CZ321 from Wuhan via Guangzhou on January 19.
- He was quarantined at Monash Hospital in Clayton in Melbourne’s east.
- A Victorian man in his 60s is diagnosed with the coronavirus.
- He became unwell on January 23 – two days after returning from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
- The man was confirmed as positive on January 29 and was subsequently seen by doctors at the Monash Medical Centre.
- A woman in her 40s is found to have coronavirus.
- She was visiting from China and mostly spent time with her family.
- She is being treated at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
- A woman in her 20s in Melbourne is found to have the virus
- Two passengers taken off the Diamond Princess cruise ship test positive
- Third passenger taken off the cruise ship tests positive
- Queensland confirms its first case after a 44-year-old Chinese national was diagnosed with the virus. He is being treated at Gold Coast University Hospital.
- A 42-year-old Chinese woman who was travelling in the same Wuhan tour group as the 44-year-old man tests positive. She is in Gold Coast University Hospital in stable condition.
- An eight-year-old boy was diagnosed with coronavirus. He is also from the tour group where the other Queensland cases came from
- A 37-year-old man, who was a member of a group of nine Chinese tourists in quarantine on the Gold Coast, also tested positive
- A 37-year-old woman was diagnosed with coronavirus from the same travel group that flew to Queensland from Melbourne on January 27
- Two Queensland women, aged 54 and 55, tested positive for COVID-19 and will be flown to Brisbane for further treatment.
- A 57-year-old woman from Queensland also tested positive for the virus
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 3
- A Chinese couple in their 60s who arrived in Adelaide from Wuhan to visit relatives are confirmed to have coronavirus.
- A 24-year-old woman from South Australia was transferred to Royal Adelaide Hospital
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 1
- A 78-year-old man from Western Australia was transferred to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth. On February 28, he was taken into intensive care in a ‘serious’ condition
DIAMOND PRINCESS CRUISE SHIP: 8
- Of the 23 overall cases in Australia, eight contracted the disease on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which had gone into quarantine in the Japanese port of Yokohama
- They tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving at the Manigurr-ma Village Howard Springs facility in Darwin, and are now being treated in their home states