NSW coronavirus cases jump as travellers bring disease home


The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in NSW rose to 15 on Tuesday night.

Six new coronavirus cases were confirmed in NSW yesterday, bringing the state's infection total to 15 so far.

The latest cases included a 39-year-old man who ­recently arrived from Iran, a 53-year-old man from Singapore, two women in their 60s - one from South Korea and another woman from Japan, another man in his 30s from Iran and a woman in her 50s, who has not travelled abroad recently and is believed to have acquired the illness locally.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in Question Time today. Picture: Joel Carrett
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian in Question Time today. Picture: Joel Carrett

Earlier on Tuesday Premier Gladys Berejiklian said four of the NSW cases had recovered from the virus.

"What is positive however is that four cases that have been diagnosed have recovered," she said.

"NSW Health is constantly reviewing new potential cases and undertaking contact tracking as they call it of all persons who had associations with the confirmed cases."

More than 90,900 coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide, and 3119 people have died. There were 40 confirmed cases in Australia as of last night.



As the situation worsens, The Daily Telegraph can exclusively reveal the Morrison government is in the final stages of preparing a national campaign to educate the community about how to protect themselves from the virus.

The mass communication strategy, which would include TV, print and online ads, and educational materials such as posters, is expected to be rolled out within weeks.

The health advice will focus on personal hygiene and other strategies individuals can take to avoid catching coronavirus. It will be ­informed by Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy in conjunction with his state and territory ­counterparts.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced the 11th case. Picture: James Gourley
Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced the 11th case. Picture: James Gourley


It is understood the mass rollout would ­include material in a number of languages.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday called for calm amid reports of people panic-buying canned foods, toilet paper, hand sanitiser and other supermarket ess­entials: "It is important that people just go about their business and their normal processes in a calm manner."

Meanwhile, South Australia has amended its own Public Health Act that would allow the government to ­detain a person if they are considered to be engaging in conduct that "creates a risk of spreading disease".

In NSW a registered medical practitioner can be delegated with the authority to make a public health order if a person has a condition such as coronavirus and poses a risk to the community. The order can direct a person to seek treatment or self-isolate and police could be asked to arrest someone who failed to comply.

Attorney-General Christian Porter has also outlined what new biosecurity measures could look like for Australians if the virus continues to spread: "If you had something that's described as a fever clinic where people are able to coalesce and return to health after the acute fever that occurs with coronavirus - people visiting relatives or medical staff coming in and out, might be required to undergo certain requirements such as decontamination."

Mr Porter said it was likely there would be more restrictions on people "coming and going" into places. "People are used to walking into hospitals in Australia … without necessarily having to go through a decontamination or being questioned," he said. "It may be that, as this disease does roll through the Australian community that those type of circumstances will change."

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told Question Time on Tuesday the situation was "evolving" as he rose to his feet to announce the 11th case.

"Literally as I sat here in question time I just received another message - this is a very fast moving situation - I've just been advised of a 53 year old gentleman who returned from a new location for us - Singapore."

It has also been revealed the Sydney doctor diagnosed with coronavirus worked at Ryde Hospital in Sydney's northern suburbs.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said NSW Health was openly contacting all of the patients he has seen along with close staff members.

Some of his colleagues and patients have been quarantined but it is not yet known how many.

"(The doctor) did not care for any of our positive cases but we are doing some additional investigation to review what patients he saw to ascertain whether there were undiagnosed patients among that group," Dr Chant said.

"We're investigating all avenues."

Dr Chant said a number of close contacts with the doctor had ceased work and were under "precautionary isolation".

NSW Health is still awaiting contact details from Border Force concerning passengers who were seated near a woman in her 50s - the sixth confirmed coronavirus case - who arrived back in Sydney in Qatar Airways Flight QR908 at 6.50pm on February 23.

Dr Chant said part of the issue is due to the fact passengers write illegibly and miss important details on contact cards, and that system is not automated.

Asked whether she was frustrated about the delay, Dr Chant said: "We acknowledged the challenges that Border Force have but it is critical information and it would be good to see that transmitted in a more streamlined manner."