Chinese students will be kept away from their classmates at schools across Australia in a bid to prevent an outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
The extreme measures come as pupils look set to return to classrooms this week.
Fears of the virus spreading through schools are high after it was introduced to Australia this month from China, where it was first detected in Wuhan.
A Brisbane boarding school has told parents its 10 Chinese students will be contained to a separate living area for two weeks before they are allowed to return to their classes.
Newington College and The Scots College for boys and Kambala school for girls have told parents that students whose families had been to China would require a doctor’s certificate to commence term one. Kambala, at Rose Bay, is pictured
The New South Wales Department of Education is also encouraging all school principals to ‘monitor children and staff closely for any strange illnesses.’ Pictured is Newington College
They will also have to undergo daily medical checks, The Australian reported.
A number of prestigious schools in Sydney have also put measures in place in the hopes of containing the outbreak as three of the four cases of the disease confirmed in Australia are in NSW.
Sydney’s Newington College and The Scots College for boys and Kambala school for girls have told parents that students whose families had been to China would require a doctor’s certificate to commence term one.
The Scots College told parents in an email it had received received ‘several enquiries’ about coronavirus, according to the ABC.
‘If your family has recently visited China, we ask that you refrain from sending your son/s to school until they have received a medical clearance from a doctor,’ the email reads.
Pupils who had visited China would have to ‘visit the College Clinic immediately for a preliminary check-up’ before they could start classes.
Pymble Ladies College parents have also been asked to comply with strict guidelines to protect pupils and staff from the spread of the virus.
Three men in NSW aged 43, 53 and 35 and one Victorian man aged in his 50s were confirmed to have caught the disease. Pictured are passengers arriving at Sydney Airport from Wuhan
Parents were asked to keep girls home for at least 14 days from their return to Australia if they had visited China over the Christmas holidays.
Pymble girls should also not attend school within 14 days of their last contact with someone who had visited a virus-affected area, Nine.com.au has reported.
The Scots College is among schools which have issued warnings about coronavirus
Melbourne private schools Firbank Grammar School and Scotch College have asked parents to keep their children home for 14 days if they have travelled to parts of China affected by coronavirus, according to 3AW.
Nine.com.au also reports Sydney private schools including Ravenswood School for Girls, Knox Grammar School and St Aloysius’ College have issued similar guidelines.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said any child who had been in contact with a person confirmed as having coronavirus must not attend school or childcare for 14 days after the last contact with the infected person.
‘Fourteen days represents the internationally recognised incubation period for the disease,’ Dr Chant said.
‘After this time the child is considered to be not be at risk of infection.’
Students who had been to Wuhan and Hubei during the school holidays could return to school but should be carefully monitored for symptoms of coronavirus infection.
‘The most common symptom is a fever,’ Dr Chant said. ‘Other symptoms include cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.’
Anyone who exhibits these symptoms should be isolated immediately from other people and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
A 21-year-old Chinese student is likely to become the fifth person in Australia to be infected by coronavirus, health authorities have said.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus at the end of December, Chinese authorities have placed 56 million people in lockdown. Pictured is a Chinese health worker taking a patient’s temperature
Private schools with students whose families have recently travelled to China are banning those pupils from returning to classes.Pictured are medical workers moving a coronavirus patient from the intensive care unit of Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University
The nation’s chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy confirmed the woman was in isolation and had tested positive to the virus in preliminary examinations.
‘She is in isolation until the final confirmation,’ Professor Murphy said.
‘But NSW Health feel she’s likely to be the fifth case in the country.’
Health authorities are working to track down people the 21-year-old woman came into contact with and potentially infected.
The news comes after three men in NSW aged 43, 53 and 35 and one Victorian man aged in his 50s were confirmed to have caught the disease.
The virus, which experts fear will ‘highly likely’ continue to spread in Australia, has so far killed 80 people in China and infected more than 2,000 worldwide.
Since the outbreak at the end of December, Chinese authorities have placed 56 million people in lockdown – including more than 100 Australian children aged between six months and 16 years old.
CORONAVIRUS IN AUSTRALIA
Australia’s first confirmed case of coronavirus is a Chinese national in his 50s who tested positive in Melbourne on Saturday morning, after arriving on a flight from Guangzhou on January 19.
Three more cases were confirmed on Saturday in NSW, with two people in isolation at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital.
A fifth person, from Sydney, tested positive to ‘probable’ coronavirus after initial swabs.
The patient was identified as a 21-year-old female student at UNSW who travelled from Wuhan to Sydney last Thursday, January 23.
Australia has raised the travel alert level to ‘do not travel’ for the city of Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak – and for the entire Hubei province.
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says unless people have contact with someone who is unwell and has come from that part of China, there is no need for current concern.