Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned Australians travelling to China they may be at risk of a new deadly coronavirus sweeping across the country.
Mr Morrison urged travellers to ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ in China’s Wuhan area as the SARS-like virus continues to spread.
On Tuesday afternoon the Prime Minister said the risk was low, but later said the level had been upgraded when an Australian returned from China showing symptoms of the disease.
The virus, which has similar symptoms to pneumonia, broke out at the end of December and has so far killed four people in China.
‘This afternoon I was briefed by the Chief Medical Officer Prof Brendan Murphy on the coronavirus detected in China’s Wuhan area. The CMO has advised that while the current risk level is low, precautions are being taken to protect Australians,’ Mr Morrison tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
‘We will be raising the level of our travel advice for Wuhan City to level 2 – exercise a high degree of caution. I urge all Australians travelling to check the DFAT Smartraveller website for specific updates.’
Mr Morrison said measures were in place to reduce the risk of infectious people entering Australia.
The warning comes after a Brisbane man with symptoms of the virus was put into isolation after returning home from a trip to China on Tuesday.
The man is being kept at his home as he awaits test results.
The virus has been spreading rapidly since cases first appeared on December 31, 2019.
The total number of cases in the world currently stands at 222, but there are reportedly more than 1,700 suspected infections.
The disease has an incubation period of about a week, and there is currently no vaccine.
The virus involves cold-like symptoms including a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and a fever.
There are also fears the mysterious SARS-linked virus could hit Bali after a second case was reported in Thailand on Friday.