Beautician with coronavirus could have exposed up to 40 people

Beautician, 63, who was diagnosed with coronavirus after a trip to Iran exposed up to FORTY people to infection at her salon before falling ill and being rushed to hospital

  • A 63-year-old woman has tested positive for coronavirus in Queensland 
  • The woman returned to the Gold Coast from Iran and is now in isolation
  • She worked at Hair Plus in the Australia Fair shopping centre and fell ill at work
  • It is thought she may have exposed up to 40 of her customers to the infection 
  • Confirmed case means there are now 25 people with coronavirus in Australia 

A beautician who was diagnosed with coronavirus after she returned from Iran could have infected up to 40 people in Australia.

The woman, who works at Hair Plus salon, in the Australia Fair shopping centre, is currently being treated at Gold Coast University Hospital after she fell ill at work on Thursday. 

Health authorities are now desperately trying to track down her customers to urge them to get tested.  

A 79-year-old west Australian woman has also tested positive after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. 

Coronavirus has killed more than 2,800 people globally and can cause severe lung damage and trigger multiple organ failure

According to the Australian health department there are 84,117 cases world wide and 2872 reported deaths.

‘The continuing increase in the number of cases and number of affected countries over the last few days are clearly of concern,’ WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesushe said in Geneva.

He said that 24 Covid-19 cases have now been exported from Italy – the worst-hit country in Europe – to 14 countries and that 97 cases have been exported from Iran to 11 countries.

The UN health agency had previously labelled the global risk as ‘high’ but still short of calling it a pandemic. 

The Australian government is already putting in place plans to tackle a pandemic.

In particular, it is looking at how aged care facilities could be locked down in the case of a coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says while some countries such as Japan are looking at closing schools, there is no need to do that in Australia based on current medical advice.

However, the virus known as COVID-19 affects the elderly more.

‘The bigger impact would be in things like aged care facilities, the ability to lock those down, and to have the right care and support to those who are working in those places,’ Mr Morrison said on Friday. 

Travellers at Brisbane International Airport on January 29 (pictured)

Travellers at Brisbane International Airport on January 29 (pictured)

Health ministers who met in Melbourne on Friday agreed the Commonwealth would take the lead on an aged care advanced planning process.

‘Those who are elderly or those who have difficulties with their immune system are most at risk and that is why they are absolute top priority,’ federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

Aged care providers received a letter this week from Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy outlining the need for them to have emergency plans in place.

‘While the number of cases of COVID-19 is currently small in Australia, it is possible that this situation could change and services need to plan and be prepared for this,’ he wrote.

Federal opposition frontbencher Jason Clare said the government is doing the right thing even though the WHO has yet to declare a pandemic.

‘They have followed the advice of the chief medical officer … they have followed the advice of the experts,’ Mr Clare told ABC television on Saturday.