Information regarding the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) Outbreak

4 February 2020

The Australian Governments Chief Medical Officer and the Department of Health have recently distributed guidance in regard to the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The outbreak, originating from Wuhan, China, has been associated with significant respiratory symptoms and a number of deaths. Health authorities have identified cases of Novel Coronavirus in Australia. 

There are still many aspects of the illness that is currently unknown, such as the incubation period, rate of infection and source of the virus. It is therefore advised that discretion and clinical judgement should be utilised to determine the need for testing in patients who do not meet clinical criteria (see the below links for more information.)

The illness is associated with the following clinical signs & symptoms: 

  • Fever
  • Acute respiratory symptoms - sore throat, cough, shortness of breath
  • Evidence of pneumonia
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (with or without fever) 

An individual who has travelled to Wuhan City (Hubei Province, China) or has come into close contact with others who have a confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus in the 14 days before onset of illness should be classified as a suspected case.
Please see below for guidance on managing suspected cases and information sheets for your reference. 

Communique for Chief Medical Officers 
Information Sheet for Emergency Departments
Information Sheet for Primary and Community Health Workers