Coronavirus fears for four people who shared tour group with man who tested positive

Queensland authorities are testing four more people for coronavirus who were in the same tour group with a man who tested positive on Wednesday.

Jan 31, 2020, updated Feb 03, 2020
The death toll from the virus has reached more than 130. (Reuters: Thomas Peter)

The death toll from the virus has reached more than 130. (Reuters: Thomas Peter)

They are all in isolation at the Gold Coast University Hospital.

The test results are not yet available.

The man who tested positive travelled from Melbourne to the Gold Coast on Tigerair Australia flight TT566 on January 27 in seats 11A and 11B.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said the man became unwell while on the flight.

He urged anyone that was on the flight to call 13HEALTH.

Tigerair confirmed 172 people were on the flight.

The plane was taken out of service this afternoon as a ‘precautionary measure’ for cleaning.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said eight others in the man’s tour group have been isolated.

“Four of them are unwell and are being tested, four of them are well at this time, but we’ll continue to monitor them,” Young said.

Young confirmed that children were among the members of the group who were unwell and were being monitored.

She said a total of 41 people in Queensland were being tested for the illness, all of whom had returned from China in the past 14 days and had “developed symptoms”.

Tigerair Australia group medical officer Dr Sara Souter said the airline was working closely with Queensland Health.

“At this point we have provided passenger details to Queensland Health to contact all passengers who were on the flight,” she said.

Souter said the airline had also contacted all crew on the flight to advise them of the situation.

“Based on medical advice we have received, the risk of contracting coronavirus is low for passengers who travelled on this aircraft in subsequent days. However, we have taken the precautionary measure of cleaning this aircraft today.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk held a meeting of the State Disaster Management Committee on Thursday afternoon.

Young said Queensland Health was working closely with the Federal Government and the World Health Organisation to ensure the best response.

Miles said after the man’s plane landed, he went to his accommodation at the Gold Coast, and called for an ambulance the following afternoon.

The man is now in isolation at the Gold Coast hospital.

The man was staying at Peppers Broadbeach, a hotel operated by Accor.

An Accor spokesperson said in a statement that it had been closely monitoring the situation.

“[We] have implemented additional hygiene procedures, including cleaning and disinfection as outlined by the authorities,” the spokesperson said.

“The safety and wellbeing of our guests and colleagues is our highest priority and we are following the advice of the Australian Government’s Department of Health to further limit any risk.”

Miles said the State Government was working to provide translated health updates to the local Chinese community.

The Federal Government has also confirmed two Australian citizens in China have been infected with coronavirus.

The virus has infected more than 7700 people around the world, most of them in China, where the death toll stands at more than 170.

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Toowoomba students in isolation

Toowoomba Grammar School has isolated seven of its boarders following advice from Queensland Health over coronavirus.

The school moved the boarders, who are from Hong Kong and China, into the school’s health centre where a nurse will monitor them before moving them into a residence on Friday.

Toowoomba Grammar School headmaster Peter Hauser said the boys showed no sign of being sick.

“What we are doing is a precautionary measure consistent with what the Government has instructed,”  Hauser said.

“They’re in good spirits … our medical staff have checked them out and they’re fine.”

Chinese soccer team in ‘good health’

Meanwhile, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) said in a statement on Thursday afternoon that the Chinese women’s national soccer team that was put in quarantine in a Brisbane hotel was in “good health”.

On Wednesday, Queensland health officials quarantined 32 people in the Chinese women’s soccer squad — including players and staff — over concerns about the possible spread of coronavirus after the squad travelled through the city of Wuhan before arriving in Brisbane.

The CFA said in the statement that prior to traveling to Australia on January 27, all team members passed an nCoV screening at the Suzhou Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Suzhou CDC).

“The examination result showed that all samples are negative,” the statement read.

“After arrival in Brisbane, the team strictly followed the rules and regulations of Australian and Queensland health authorities and was placed in isolation in the hotel.

“All the players and staff members are in good health.”

The CFA said the team understood the concern of the Queensland Government, the media and locals, and would work closely with all stakeholders to fulfil all quarantine requirements.


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