02 February 2020

Chief Health Officer statement Novel Coronavirus update 2


2 February 2020, current as at 1330hrs WST

There are currently no cases of Novel Coronavirus in Western Australia.

I would like to take this opportunity to reassure members of public that the WA Department of Health is continuing to work closely with the Australian Government on ensuring an evidence-based response for Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Testing capacity for Novel Coronavirus within Western Australia became available on Thursday 30 January, reducing the wait time for any cases that need to be investigated.

The Australian Government, as the lead agency for this response in Australia, is liaising closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) on this rapidly evolving situation.

Yesterday, the Australian Government, on the advice of Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), considered the changes in epidemiology of coronavirus in China and noted the increasing (but still relatively small) number of cases in provinces outside Hubei province.

Based on the increased risk posed from travellers from all of mainland China, the Australian Government, with the support of States and Territories, agreed on the following:

  • to expand the case definition for novel coronavirus infection from 1 February 2020 to apply to people from all of mainland China, which excludes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan;
  • the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will now increase travel advisory to level 4 – do not travel to all of mainland China and, if in mainland China, leave immediately;
  • from 1 February, all travellers arriving out of mainland China (not just Hubei Province) be asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the time they leave mainland China
  • that to substantially reduce the volume of travellers coming from mainland China, the Australian Government agreed additional border measures be implemented to deny entry to Australia to people who have left or transited through mainland China from 1 February 2020, with the exception of Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family and air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. This also applies to passengers transiting in Australia, unless they are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families.

The Smart Traveller website has also been updated – recommending that people do not travel to China:  https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

These changes will enhance Australia’s already robust border security measures, and should reassure members of the public that every effort is being made to contain and control cases of Novel Coronavirus in Australia.

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