A Chinese man with coronavirus shared a flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast with 171 others when he was sick.
Authorities have now confirmed that a second passenger on the same flight has also tested positive for coronavirus.
Queensland health authorities are trying to track down everyone who was on the Tiger Airways flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast on January 27.
MORE: Nine Australians confirmed with coronavirus
The man, who was in a tour group from the virus epicentre Wuhan, started showing symptoms when he took the flight and steadily became more ill after arriving on the Gold Coast.
But the 44-year-old spent about 24 hours in the community before calling an ambulance and being taken to hospital where tests revealed he had the virus.
“There are eight other people who were in that tour group and they are all currently in isolation in the Gold Coast University Hospital. Four of them are unwell and being tested today,” Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said on Thursday.
Tigerair’s Group medical officer and aviation medicine specialist Dr Sara Souter said the risk for subsequent passengers on the aircraft is low, however they have taken the “precautionary measure” of cleaning it.
A 42-year-old woman, who was part of that same tour group, was confirmed as the second Queensland coronavirus case late on Thursday night.
The woman was a Chinese national from Wuhan, authorities said. A total of 41 people who have symptoms after being in China in the last fortnight were being tested for the virus in Queensland on Thursday. Dr Young said anyone who spent two hours or more exposed to an infectious person in a confined space could be at risk. The flight time from Melbourne to the Gold Coast is about two hours.
Tiger Airways says it’s in the process of contacting affected passengers and crew members, and would direct them to see their doctors.
Anyone who was on the flight has also been urged to call Queensland Health to ensure they take the safest and most appropriate action.
Meanwhile, there’s no sign of illness in China’s women’s soccer team who will remain holed up in a Brisbane hotel until Wednesday to ensure they are not carrying the virus.
The group of 32 players and staff, who travelled from Wuhan, have been confined to their hotel rooms as a precaution.
The team had been due to open the Olympic qualifying tournament against Thailand in Sydney on Monday.