Health district confirms there are no coronavirus cases in south-west Sydney

Picture: Chinapix
Picture: Chinapix

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that there are no cases of coronavirus in the south-western Sydeny area.

Despite information circulating on social media suggesting otherwise, all NSW cases of the deadly virus which has spread from the Wuhan region in China are outside south-western Sydney.

"There are four confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in NSW," a NSW Health spokeswoman said.

"All confirmed cases are currently in hospital isolation and none of these are in south-western Sydney."

In addition to the four confirmed cases of the virus, six more patients are under investigation.

NSW Health has advised any children who have visited China in the past two weeks have been encouraged to stay home from school or childcare service until at least 14 days have passed from the departure date.

Opposition health spokesman Ryan Park criticised the state and federal governments for sending "mixed messages" regarding school attendance, after federal Education Minister Dan Tehan told Today's Karl Stefanovic that children who had recently visited China could attend school.

"Unless you've been in direct contact with someone who has the virus or is showing symptoms, you're fine to go to school or go to a child care centre," Mr Tehan said.

Conversely, state Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Education Minister Sarah Mitchell asked parents who have visited China not to send their children to school or childcare services until 14 days had lapsed from their departure date - in line with the message from NSW Health.

The ministers said, although the risk to children was very low, the government had taken this step as a precautionary measure.

"I've been advised that it's not medically necessary, but the NSW Government has acted in line with community expectations to ensure the safest possible environment for our students," Mr Hazzard said.

"The internationally recognised incubation period for the coronavirus is 14 days, so this is the logical timeframe to ask students to refrain from attending school. After this time, there is no risk.

"Advice about not attending school has already been provided to any close contacts of confirmed cases."

Mr Park said the differing messages from state and federal ministers was "a mess".

"The federal and state Liberals need to pick up the phone to each other and get on the same page," he said.

"Should children go to school? Should they stay home?

"This is important information. We can't afford more of this mess and more of these delays."

Symptoms of the virus can take up to 14 days to present and include fever, coughs, shortness of breath and pneumonia.

Most cases are spread person-to-person through droplets while coughing.

More information about the disease, its symptoms and spread can be found at health.nsw.gov.au.

Anyone who is concerned they may have the virus is urged to immediately isolate themselves from others, contact their GP or emergency department or call the Healthdirect hotline on 1800 022 222.

This story Health district confirms there are no coronavirus cases in south-west Sydney first appeared on Fairfield City Champion.