Date published: 
28 January 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

A family of four is now being tested in a Sydney hospital for coronavirus.

The tests come as health authorities confirmed a female university student has the potentially deadly bug.

The 21-year-old flew into Sydney from Wuhan last week, she’s the fourth person in Sydney to test positive for the disease, with another case in Melbourne.

At the outbreak epicentre in Wuhan, China, the death toll has risen to 80 and almost 2700 people are apparently ill.

Foreign Affairs is now scrambling to get Aussies, including children, out of the exclusion zone.

Joining us now is the Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt. Minister, good morning.

GREG HUNT:

Good morning, Sam.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Firstly, what more can you tell us about this new case in Sydney? How is this young university student doing?

GREG HUNT:

So, the advice I have from the National Incident Centre, literally just before coming to air, is that there are now five patients in Australia, including a young woman in Sydney.

All five are stable, in isolation and being well cared for. The health authorities have reacted very quickly and the care is very good.

Other patients are being tested and as their results are completed and confirmed then they’ll be provided publicly.

And so at this stage though, it is five cases within Australia and globally approximately 2800 cases and 80 lives lost although we expect the Chinese authorities and World Health Organization will provide additional details later today.

So they’re being updated each day and every day, those figures.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Okay. There is an alarming number of Australian’s trapped in Wuhan, there’s apparently 100 school kids there.

We can’t seem to get any information on why they were there, who they are.

Do you know - we have no consular staff there - do you know where these kids are and why they were there in the first place?

GREG HUNT:

Yeah. So, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is taking registrations.

Australians, of course, travel whether they’re Australian citizens, whether they’re dual Nationals to many parts of the world.

Of course we have a lot of Australians who have connections with Wuhan, whether their families are there, whether they are dual nationals.

So the Foreign Affairs and Trade is taking registrations as calls come in of those Australians that are being identified in Wuhan, they are developing contact with them, making sure there is support available.

And so the Foreign Minister, I think, addressed that yesterday. And yesterday, as part of the National Security Committee, which the Prime Minister chaired on coronavirus, the, one of the number one issues was the care and protection of Australians overseas.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Yes. Okay. Well a lot of Australians here, Minister, are really angry not only that's China has kept this outbreak secret for well over a month, as far as we know, but that plane loads of people were allowed to fly in to Australia unchecked for so long.

What do you say to Australians out there who are concerned now that coronavirus is spreading through the community?

GREG HUNT:

Coronavirus is a challenge for the world and we have moved to declare this as a pandemic, potential disease and that was done on the basis of advice from the World Health Organization and the medical authorities.

Our authorities have been working both at state and federal and at expert level on a daily basis, literally around the clock.

And so, our border protection measures are some of the strongest in the world, planes are being boarded by bio-security officials, all of the passengers are met, and obviously flights stopped from Wuhan.

And this is in line with some of the toughest international procedures available.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Okay. Greg Hunt, we thank you for your time today.

Ministers: