CMO updates on response to novel coronavirus

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The federal government has announced additional measures in response to the novel coronavirus (2019‑nCoV) from the region of Wuhan in China.

"I want to reassure Australians that to date there have been no confirmed cases in Australia and the risk of transmission in Australia from this novel coronavirus remains low," said Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy. 

He said a number of individuals who have presented with relevant symptoms and travel history to Wuhan have been cleared of the virus. Laboratory testing results are pending on one remaining case in Queensland. 

"We have well established mechanisms to detect and respond to ill travellers, and processes in place to implement further measures if the risk increases.

"This is a rapidly evolving matter with developments in recent days and we remain alert but not alarmed," said Professor Murphy.

Professor Murphy said there had been a significant increase in reported cases and evidence of limited human-to-human transmission.

He said following consultation with other agencies, as well as the states and territories, the federal government was implementing additional border measures, particularly in relation to the three weekly direct flights from Wuhan to Sydney.

Passengers on these direct flights will receive information about the virus and be asked to identify themselves to border security officers on arrival if they are unwell.

Additional information will be displayed at all major international ports around Australia with instructions on what to do if travellers have symptoms or if symptoms develop. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is also working on an update to the travel advisory to Wuhan.

Professor Murphy said the Department of Health is also preparing updated advice for doctors and other health professionals in Australia.