Thousands screened at Sydney Airport


The New South Wales Department of Health says close to 1,500 arrivals from mainland China were assessed at Sydney International Airport on Saturday for the deadly coronavirus.

A total of 11,924 people have been screened for signs of the disease at the airport since February 2.

Of those assessed yesterday, five were sent for further testing, the Department of Health said in a statement released on Sunday.

While the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia remains static at 15, the virus’ death toll in China has rapidly jumped to 811, AP reported on Sunday.

The number of fatalities is now higher than the global number of deaths caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, which killed 774 people in 2002-2003.

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All but one of the overall total of deaths have so far been in mainland China and Hong Kong.

While the World Health Organisation said on Saturday that the number of cases being reported daily in China is “stabilising”, scientific research released earlier this week predicted cases in China will double every six days, with some experts suggesting it will never be contained.

In NSW, three of the four cases confirmed thus far have been discharged from hospital.

They include a 53-year-old man, a 35-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman.

A 43-year-old male patient remains in hospital. No new patients were confirmed overnight.

On Friday, NSW Health warned the public to be aware of false and misleading rumours on social media and inaccurate reports regarding the spread of coronavirus across the state.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said there have been multiple incorrect and alarmist social media posts regarding the spread and severity of the disease, prompting the government to remind all residents to fact check.

Dr Chat said residents across the state need to be “aware of the facts” regarding the virus and to “take a moment to investigate unverified claims before they share them with others”.


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