NSW Health has urged passengers on the Qatar Airways QR908 flight from Qatar to Sydney on 23 February to “isolate themselves” and seek a health assessment if they believe they have symptoms of coronavirus.
The warning comes after it was revealed that a woman in her 50s on the journey was confirmed as the sixth NSW case of COVID-19. Crucially, the passenger didn’t visit the hospital until six days later, despite her symptoms showing within 24 hours.
Anyone on Qatar Airways flight QR908 from Qatar to Sydney that was scheduled to arrive at 6.45pm on Sunday 23 February should be on the alert for symptoms. If symptoms develop, people who were on that flight should isolate themselves and contact their GP or emergency department.
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) March 1, 2020
NSW Health is trying to determine her seat and inform passengers located near her.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters, “Anyone on that flight … should be very aware that there was someone on the flight who had the coronavirus
“If you have any doubts or thoughts that [it] may be the coronavirus, please ring ahead to your GP or ring ahead to the local emergency department so they are aware and can take the appropriate steps to keep everyone safe.”
Authorities said the woman flew from Iran to Sydney via Doha in Qatar on 23 February, but didn’t keep her flight ticker so her position was immediately unknown.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said, “NSW Health is in contact with the airline to determine where she sat and to identify passengers who sat in the rows in front of, and behind, her to alert them to the possibility that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus.”
Symptoms of the disease include fever, sore throat, coughing and shortness of breath.
As of Monday morning, 80 people in NSW were awaiting coronavirus test results, though the number assessed for the disease fluctuated daily.
On Monday afternoon, Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said it was “no longer possible” to prevent new cases of coronavirus from entering Australia.
He advised those returning from Italy or South Korea who work as a healthcare worker to not attend their regular work for 14 days.
Murphy said, “We have got concerns about Japan and South Korea. They are working hard to control their outbreaks but we are still concerned that people in those countries and any other high-risk countries and may present with an infection.”