What is CoronaVirus?

Coronavirus is not just one virus but rather a family of viruses. The one that we are concerned about at present is the Novel Coronavirus, initially referred to as 2019-nCoV, now known as COVID-19

Where did it start?

It is thought to have started in Wuhan, Hubei province, China

Where are the cases of COVID-19

They are all over the world as per the link above. The majority of cases are in Wuhan, China.

Are there cases in Australia?

Yes, unfortunately, there are confirmed cases in Australia and in Queensland. As of 05/03/2020 there are 41 confirmed cases in Australia. 2 have sadly died.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus

Symptoms of coronavirus
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Symptoms include:

  1. Fever
  2. Feeling unwell
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Sore throat
  5. Fatigue
  6. Cough

Usually it will cause a cold, or mild flu-like symptoms, however more serious illness can cause Middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). It can also cause Pneumonia.

What should you do if you have symptoms?

Don’t panic. The current advice is to call 13 HEALTH, The Coronavirus Health Information Line, healthdirect hotline or call to speak to your GP.

If you are feeling very unwell and it is an emergency then call the emergency services on 000.

Should I see my GP?

Although the government has been advising patients to attend their GP, please do not simply turn up without telling us in advance. There are multiple reasons for this:

  1. We have vulnerable patients such as the very young, very old, frail, those with cancer on chemotherapy, etc. They could get extremely sick and it could be fatal if they were to contract Coronavirus
  2. Some GPs may have vulnerable staff for the same reasons
  3. Most GPs do not have adequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) – supplies of the correct PPE are extremely limited and we barely have enough due to the national shortages

So please call your GP or 13 HEALTH for advice

What is the treatment of COVID-19

There is no specific treatment. Antibiotics will not do anything for it as it is a virus, and flu shots and other immunisations won’t be effective either as it is a different virus.

The best treatment is to treat your symptoms and stay at home and rest, drink plenty of fluids (not just water) and if you are worsening call your GP or 13 HEALTH.

What can we do to prevent transmission?

If you are unwell then you should quarantine yourself as best you can.

If you must leave the house or you are around others then it is advisable to wear a face mask to reduce the risk of transmission.

What can we do reduce the risk of catching it?

General illness-avoidance measures, such as avoiding close contact with somebody affected, and washing your hands carefully with soap and water. Try not to touch surfaces then touch your mouth or face if you suspect somebody with Coronavirus has touched them first.

Should you wear a facemask?

Wearing a mask will not help much
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If you are otherwise well then there’s no evidence that wearing a facemask will reduce the risk of you catching the Coronavirus.

Please do not attend your GP and ask for a mask. There is a national shortage and GPs barely have enough for themselves or any suspected cases. We simply cannot give any out to the public as much as we may want to.

Travel

Travel should be limited for coronavirus
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You can find more information from DFAT on the https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/ website

Can I travel to China or Iran?

Currently, the advice is to not travel to mainland China or Iran.

What should I do if I’ve been to China or Iran?

Restrictions apply on re-entry. Please check smart traveller website or DoH advice

What about other countries?

The current advice is if you have been to the following countries, and have any symptoms of illness then you should be tested for Coronavirus:

  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • China

What about Influenza?

Whilst Coronavirus is very important and we are concerned about it, we also need to be thinking of Influenza. Flu season is almost upon us in Australia and advice is currently to think about getting your Flu shot as soon as possible, with a second dose later on to boost your immunity throughout the flu season.

influenza vaccine
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Where can I find more information?

For the summary of the latest information please look here:

Otherwise please check the below sites for more information on COVID-19

Dr Suresh Khirwadkar

Links/Sources

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

https://www.health.gov.au/news/coronavirus-update-at-a-glance

https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/news/493/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-wn-cov-travel-to-china

https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-and-updates/novel-coronavirus-outbreak

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/?fbclid=IwAR2nuNzTyXA4WZSKTinq_RGfA1fr_CtjeRR_ISONaaYbniAlTRiXB1k4fIU

https://www.health.gov.au/news/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc-coronavirus-covid-19-statement-on-29-february-2020

State Links

Queensland

New South Wales

Western Australia

Northern Territory

Victoria

South Australia

Healthcare Professionals

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-information-sheet-for-primary-and-community-health-workers .

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