Possible fourth coronavirus case in NSW

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says see a doctor if coronavirus symptoms appear.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says see a doctor if coronavirus symptoms appear.

NSW health authorities fear they have uncovered a fourth case of the coronavirus in the state as they work desperately to contain the outbreak of the deadly infection.

NSW Health on Sunday cleared four people who were being investigated for possible infection however a fifth patient tested positive during initial examinations.

Confirmation was expected on Monday but authorities have moved swiftly and treated it as if it was a confirmed case.

The patient has been isolated in hospital and officials have begun contacting anyone who has come in close contact with them.

"Public health follow-up of this probable case is being undertaken in accordance with the national guidelines and the patient remains in isolation," NSW Health said in a statement.

Four cases have been confirmed in Australia, including one in Victoria, after three men, aged 35, 43, and 53 tested positive and have been isolated in a Sydney hospital.

Two of the men had travelled to the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak - Wuhan - while another man had travelled from the southern city of Shenzhen but had direct contact with a person from Wuhan who was diagnosed with the virus.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Sunday said all three were in a stable condition and they were pleased with how they were progressing.

Authorities have now contacted almost of the people who have had close and substantial contact with the men since they reached Australia.

They have yet to track down three of the 25 people who have been in close proximity to the 35-year-old however have ticked off all who been in close contact with the other two patients.

"We are confident that we've reached out and contacted all of the close contacts and I'm reassured that we have not seen any illness," NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

"I imagine of all the people that are likely to experience disease or infection, it's going to be those close contacts."

Authorities are now urging anyone who has travelled to the Wuhan region and experienced flu-like symptoms to contact their GP or local emergency department.

Mr Hazzard said NSW Health was waiving the usual fee for visiting an emergency department for anyone who had any connection with the Wuhan region.

Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.

China has confirmed 56 deaths from the virus, while nearly 2000 people have tested positive to the virus worldwide.

Australian Associated Press