The coronavirus outbreak in Australia has entered a new, more potent phase and is being fuelled by local or community transmissions, according to biosecurity experts.
“Based on what’s happening around the nursing home in northwest Sydney, there could already be between 50 and 100 cases in that community alone,” said Raina MacIntyre, professor of global biosecurity at the University of NSW, referring to three cases that emerged on Wednesday at BaptistCare in Macquarie Park. READ MORE
Each person on average has about nine close contacts, says Dr Raina MacIntyre, Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at UNSW."It varies from case to case, but on average we know that from contact tracing other infectious diseases each person on average has about nine close contacts," she told Hack. READ MORE
One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from the virus, however, is simply to wash your hands, according to the Australian Academy of Science.
"Hand hygiene is one of the most important things you can do," Raina MacIntyre, the head of the biosecurity program at the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney, said. READ MORE
"The economic losses have to be weighed against the health losses. It's difficult to find the right balance," says Raina MacIntyre, professor of global biosecurity, Kirby Institute at the University of NSW. She believes Australia is to be commended for closing its borders to visitors from mainland China in early February. READ MORE
The flu-like virus, which spawned in Wuhan, China in December, is more severe in older people because their immune systems are weaker (stock image)
Professor Raina MacIntyre, head of the Biosecurity Program at UNSW’s Kirby Institute, warned this could spell disaster in the event of a major outbreak Down Under.
The outbreak of coronavirus has brought Australia’s relationship with China into sharp focus. As the academic year gets underway, our dependence on the Chinese student market is at risk, while tourism, still reeling from the bushfires, takes another big hit. Simultaneously, the Chinese-Australian community has become the target of increased racism.
Critics say the COVID-19 epidemic has exposed flaws in China’s autocracy, and the impact will be felt around the world. So what are the implications for Australia - our economy, our region and our own community? READ MORE
Raina MacIntyre, head of the Biosecurity Research Program at Australia’s University of New South Wales, said it was well known the coronavirus can be infectious even if a patient has no symptoms.
“The Japanese tested over 500 of their first evacuees from Wuhan, whether they were symptomatic or not, and five out of eight positive tests were in asymptomatic people,” MacIntyre said. “So, in a high risk setting, it would be important to check for infection in everyone.” READ MORE
“The frequency of infection with this coronavirus in children is similar to that in adults but they don’t manifest with severe clinical illness in the way that adults do,” said Raina MacIntyre, head of the biosecurity program at the University of NSW’s Kirby Institute. READ MORE
With the numbers of cases of novel coronavirus continuing to grow across the world, experts believe the chance of a pandemic being declared is a growing possibility — but not all agree.READ MORE
Surgical masks being distributed to GPs as part of the nation’s coronavirus response are ineffective in preventing transmission of the disease. Raina MacIntyre, head of the Biosecurity Research Program at the University of NSW’s Kirby Institute and an expert on disease epidemiology, said only respirator masks such as P2 or N95 masks were effective in preventing the spread of such illnesses. READ commentary on The Australian