The Federal Government has announced a travel ban on foreigners coming to Australia from Iran.
It comes after a Gold Coast beautician who had just from the country was diagnosed with coronavirus.
It emerged on Saturday that she could have infected up to 40 people while giving them facials.
The woman, 63, works at Hair Plus salon, in the Australia Fair shopping centre in Southport and fell ill at work on Thursday.
She is currently ‘in isolation’ at Gold Coast University Hospital, according to the state’s health department.
Queensland’s chief medical officer Dr Jeannette Young said the woman did facials on up to 40 clients, with each one lasting around 15 minutes.
She warned that ‘we will be seeing an epidemic here in Queensland eventually’.
Health authorities are now desperately trying to track down the infected woman’s customers to urge them to get tested.
A 63-year-old woman diagnosed with coronavirus after returning from Iran gave facials to 40 clients at Hair Plus salon in Australia Fair Shopping Centre (pictured) on Thursday
Coronavirus has killed more than 2,800 people globally and can cause severe lung damage and trigger multiple organ failure
Queensland’s chief medical officer Dr Jeannette Young warned that Queensland was heading for an epidemic and urged Hair Plus customers to be examined for coronavirus
‘She’s a highly intelligent, very sensible lady, so as soon as she had her first symptom she spoke to her manager and she went home,’ she told reporters in Brisbane on Saturday.
‘Then she went to Gold Coast University Hospital and got tested.’
Dr Young urged anyone who attended the Hair Plus salon at Australia Fair in Southport from 11am on Thursday to come forward.
‘She saw a number of clients each for brief interactions, so we believe the risk is incredibly low,’ she said.
Dr Young said there was no need for anyone who was at the shopping centre at the same time, to be concerned.
But she said the number of countries that have contracted the coronavirus is increasing each day.
‘So it’s very hard for individuals to work out which country is at risk,’ she said.
‘It’s really a message now, if you have been overseas, you come back to Queensland, you feel unwell with any symptoms, that you go and get advice.’
Speaking to the ABC, Dr Young warned that Queensland was heading for an epidemic.
‘We know that we will be seeing a pandemic result through the world — it’s not been declared yet,’ she said.
‘But we know we will be seeing an epidemic here in Queensland eventually.’
The 63-year-old beautician is currently ‘in isolation’ at Gold Coast University Hospital, according to the state’s health department
Health minister Steven Miles reassured Queenslanders the Covid-19 virus remained contained across the state, despite the latest development.
A 79-year-old west Australian woman has also tested positive after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan taking the overall number of infected Australians to 25.
According to the Australian health department there are 84,117 cases world wide and 2,872 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.
Health minister Steven Miles reassured Queenslanders the Covid-19 virus remained contained across the state, despite the latest development
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)
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.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 25
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. February 28 A 63-year-old woman was confirmed to have the virus after returning to the Gold Coast from Iran.
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