Unlucky seven: All new cases ‘contracted overseas’
QUEENSLAND health authorities believe the state's seven latest cases of coronavirus all contracted the disease overseas, including American actor Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson.
The new diagnoses take the number of people who have had COVID-19 in Queensland to 27.
Hanks and Wilson, both in their 60s, are listed to be in stable conditions in the Gold Coast University Hospital, where they are in quarantine.
Citing patient confidentiality, Queensland Health director-general John Wakefield would not confirm the celebrity couple's identity at a news conference today.
Instead, he said: "Whether you're from Hollywood or Helensvale, you will get great care in our healthcare system and we will look after you."
Health Minister Steven Miles added that the infectious diseases ward at the Gold Coast hospital was "one of the best in the world", designed by doctors who were involved in the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, another strain of coronavirus, which resulted in more than 700 deaths internationally earlier this century.
"The one thing I can reassure Queenslanders is that if you are going to get sick, if you are going to get COVID-19 anywhere in the world, Queensland is where you would want to get it," Mr Miles said.
"We are very well equipped to deal with this disease."
Of the five other cases of COVID-19 confirmed today in Queensland, one is a 19-year-old man who is a close contact of a Brisbane university student, 22, who had recently returned from Spain, Italy and France.
Both are listed in a stable condition in The Prince Charles Hospital, where they have been placed in quarantine.
A 40-year-old man is in the same hospital with the novel coronavirus after returning from the UK.
Dr Wakefield said a man, 37, and a woman, 56, were both in isolation in the Princess Alexandra Hospital after returning from overseas. The man had travelled from Geneva, in Switzerland, through Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and the woman had recently returned from Indonesia.
A 24-year-old is in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital with COVID-19 after having returned from the US.
Dr Wakefield said most of Queensland's COVID-19 cases so far had experienced "relatively mild disease".
But he said at least two cases had experienced symptoms that were "a little more severe".
He repeated requests for anyone who fell ill within 14 days of returning from overseas to seek medical advice and be tested for COVID-19.
They should always phone ahead to the general practice, hospital emergency department or pathology testing laboratory to allow measures to be put in place to protect other patients and staff.
Despite the numbers of Queensland cases growing daily, Mr Miles said health authorities believed the state was yet to see community transmission of the new disease.
"There is no need now to cancel large-scale events and no need for people to be concerned other than those who have travelled to those high-risk countries who shouldn't attend events like that," Mr Miles said.
"We don't have community transmission in Queensland now and so events can continue to proceed."
For more information, call 13 HEALTH.