Novel Coronavirus Information for Travellers Arriving in Australia from China

Number: A002/2020

Relevant: Travellers Arriving in Australia from China 

Topic: Novel Coronavirus Information for Travellers Arriving in Australia from China

Date: 28 January 2020

The Australian Government Department of Health is aware of cases of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) associated with the region of Wuhan, Hubei Province China.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a type of virus that can affect humans and animals. Some coronaviruses cause illnesses similar to the common cold and others cause more serious illnesses, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

What is novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

There is a new coronavirus affecting people who have recently been in the area of Wuhan, Hubei Province China. At the moment, this coronavirus is called ‘novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV’.

Most of those infected have had a link with Wuhan, Hubei Province China. It’s likely that the coronavirus comes from an animal. While the infection does not appear to spread easily between people, there are cases of person-to-person transmission in the community and in health care settings. There have been cases of 2019-nCoV reported in some other Chinese provinces and other countries.

What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?

Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, nausea/vomiting, and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show after a person has been infected.

What do I do if I am sick right now?

If you have fever, sweats, chills or difficulty breathing please let a Biosecurity Officer at the airport know now.

What do I do if I get sick while in Australia?

If you are sick after arriving from China: 

  • It’s important to see a doctor if you are ill or go to a hospital if you are very ill. If you’ve been in Wuhan, Hubei Province, call ahead and explain that you’ve been in the area, so the doctor can prepare. 
  • Make sure you tell the doctor or hospital staff about your travel history. 
  • If you are coughing, ask for a mask to wear while you are at the doctor or hospital. 

You should also: 

  • Wash your hands frequently 
  • Use good cough etiquette - cover your cough or sneeze and wash your hands afterwards 

Where can I get more information about 2019-nCoV?

Visit the Australian Government Department of Health’s website at

Mrs Natasha Griggs
Administrator of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands