Corona virus facts

People have been asking whether there’s reason to be concerned about the outbreak of a particular strain of coronavirus identified in China, and causing concern to health authorities around the world.

The answer is that at the time of writing (Thursday 30 January) there is no more reason to be concerned in north-eastern Victoria than in any other location.

Your best source of reliable and regularly updated information about the current outbreak is the website of the Department of Health and Human Services:

Please refer to the DHHS site for updates more frequent and reliable than we can provide here.

The site is informed by the Chief Health Officer for Victoria, whose office continues to closely monitor and advise on every development from a medical point of view.

At the time of writing, the outbreak of the newly identified corona virus has been confined to people who have been in Hubei province, China. To date, two Victorians, both recently returned from China, have been identified: a man in his 50s and another in his 60s. Both are receiving care.

At the time of writing there has been no report of anyone being infected in Wangaratta, Wodonga, Myrtleford, or other parts of north-eastern Victoria served by Gateway Health.

Doctors are being asked to check for the travel history of any patient who arrives suffering flu-like symptoms of fever or breathing difficulties. The Department of Human Services is monitoring the situation closely and providing clear advice to GPs on procedure to follow in the event of any patient being identified as having coronavirus.

At present, none have been identified in northern Victoria.

A public information hotline exists for any person concerned about the issue, supported by the Nurse-On-Call service. The number is 1800 675 398.

The term ‘corona virus’ refers to a group of viruses that cause illness. They are common and widespread, and can include the common cold, but occasionally a rarer form of corona virus can arise with more serious effects. The current alert relates to a specific (‘novel’) corona virus designated as 2019-nCoV, first identified in the city of Wuhan, China, in recent weeks.