Coronavirus updates

March 12, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially labels COVID-19 as pandemic.

“This is the first pandemic caused by coronavirus,” reported WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The virus is now spread in 114 countries and has killed more than 4000.

This information has been taken from Coronavirus: COVID-19 Is Now Officially A Pandemic, WHO says by Bill Chappell.

As of 11 March, 2020, 112 confirmed cases of coronavirus is in Australia.

60 in New South Wales, 15 in Queensland, 6 in South Australia, 2 in Tasmania, 15 in Victoria, 4 in Western Australia, 10 associated with the Diamond Princess Cruise ship.

February 27, 2020

There have been 23 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia.

8 in Queensland, 4 in New South Wales, 7 in Victoria, 3 in South Australia and 1 in Western Australia.

15 of these cases are reported to have recovered, and the remaining cases are in stable conditions.

For questions about testing or the welfare of people with the virus, contact your state or territory.

However, the World Health Organization has not yet labeled the virus as pandemic.

According to ABC, Australia’s chief health officer, Brendan Murphy said: “A pandemic is a label that simply says there is sustained community transmission in several countries.

“We are already preparing for the eventuality of that we have further outbreaks in Australia, should they happen.

“That’s what the situation is about. Declaring the pandemic isn’t changing what we do.”

February 12, 2020

Today Minister for Health Greg Hunt addressed the public on how the Australian containment processes are going, and stated that:

“In addition, though, to bolster that, we will be providing an additional 300,000 surgical masks to the primary health networks for supporting doctors, health workers and also pharmacists, not as a sale item for pharmacists but in case there is a potential patient who reports, for the patient, for anybody associated with them and for pharmacy staff.

“So we’re responding to the requests. They’ll be provided through the primary health network.”

February 10, 2020

15 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Australia.

5 in Queensland, 4 in New South Wales, 4 in Victoria and 2 in South Australia.

ABC News reports that China has completed the construction of an emergency hospital at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak within 10 days.

The make-shift hospital, named ‘Huoshenshan’ includes 1,400 medical staff and 1,000 hospital beds, to treat coronavirus patients and has begun taking them on.

February 1, 2020: 

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that people who have visited or transited through mainland China from Saturday will be banned from entering Australia for two weeks.

Australian citizens, permanent residents and members of their immediate families will be exempt from the ban but will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days from their date of departure from China.

Qantas airlines has suspended its two direct services to mainland China (Sydney – Beijing, Sydney – Shanghai) from February 9 until March 29.

There has been no changes to Qantas services to Hong Kong as it’s exempt from current travel restrictions.

January 31, 2020

It seems as though every day, we are turning on the T.V., or opening up social media on our phones, to see more confirmed cases, more deaths and more ‘facts’ about the coronavirus.

As mentioned in our previously published story, ‘Novel coronavirus a wing and a prayer away,’ on January 24, Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendon Murphy suggested that there is no call for alarm, and that the risk the virus has on Australians is “relatively low”.

From January 31, 9 cases of 2019-nCoV have been confirmed in Australia: 2 in Queensland, 3 in Victoria and 4 in New South Wales.

Australian authorities continue to test anyone who shows symptoms of the virus. To date, more than 200 people have been tested.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations Emergency Committee has now declared the outbreak of 2019-nCoV a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

What is the Australian Government doing?

On January 24, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) raised the level of travel advice for Wuhan and Hubei Province in China to ‘level 4 – do not travel’.

On January 29, the level of travel advice for China was raised to ‘level 3 – reconsider your need to travel’.

People who have been in contact with confirmed novel coronavirus must be isolated in their home for 14 days after exposure.

Those who are returning travellers from the Hubei Province of China must be isolated in their home for 14 days after leaving Hubei Province, other than seeking individual medical care.

The Government is standing up a quarantine facility on Christmas Island where people will be quarantined for 14 days.

Sources you can trust

There are many different stories circulating about the coronavirus.

Some of which, are false – and wrongly educating people on what is happening, which could potentially cause harm.

Sources used throughout this article include:

Australian Government Department of Health, Coronavirus update at a glance. Accessed 31.01.2020.

World Health Organization, Statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Accessed 31.01.2020.

Retail Pharmacy Assistants magazine and Retail Pharmacy magazine will also be providing updates on the coronavirus, as they come through.