22 January 2020

Novel Coronavirus

Current as at 1300hrs WST

STATEMENT FROM WA CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER, DR ANDREW ROBERTSON

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

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

The WHO is working with governments and communicable disease control experts to fully understand the extent of the virus.

The risk of transmission in Australia remains low; however, the situation is evolving. Western Australians should remain alert, but they should not be alarmed.

Australia has one of the best health systems in the world and we are prepared to deal with this situation.

Western Australia, like all other Australian jurisdictions, already has established and robust border security measures in place at its international airport to respond to ill travellers at points of entry. Under Australian legislation, airlines must report passengers on board showing signs of an infectious disease, including fever, sweats or chills.

As a standard process, when a plane reports an ill traveller, they are met on arrival by biosecurity officers who make an assessment and take necessary actions, such as isolation and referral to hospital where required.  

Australia also has processes in place to enhance border measures in relation to a communicable disease, if required, working through our established Health Protection system.

Current advice from the WHO is that no additional airport measures are presently required. However, the WA Department of Health is in regular contact with the Perth Airport, and will act swiftly, if required, to implement additional safety measures.

Travellers intending to visit China should visit the Smart Traveller website for the latest travel advice: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

Access to up-to-date information from the World Health Organization and Australian Department of Health is also available via the Department's website.

ENDS

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