Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): What you need to know

If you have been reading the news lately, no doubt you will have heard of the recent outbreak of coronavirus. But what is it? How can it affect you? Here's what you need to know.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some cause illness in humans, and others cause illness in animals, such as bats, camels, and civets. Human coronaviruses cause mild illness, such as the common cold. A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus. There are currently four confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in NSW.  All cases had travelled to Wuhan, China or had contact with a confirmed case in China. Currently, there are no paediatric cases in NSW. 

What are the symptoms?

Case definition of coronavirus is fever and respiratory symptoms AND recent travel to Wuhan, China in the last 14 days before onset of illness.

What should  I do if I think my child starts showing symptoms?

Anyone who exhibits these symptoms should be isolated immediately from other people and seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

If you develop a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of travel to Hubei or contact with a person with confirmed coronavirus, you should immediately isolate yourself from other people. Contact your GP or your local emergency department or call the healthdirect helpline 1800 022 222 and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

It is important to phone ahead so that the practice or emergency department can make appropriate preparations and protect others. When seeking medical care wear a surgical mask (if possible) otherwise ask for one when you arrive.

Should my child return to school if we have just come back from China?

The NSW Government has requested children who have visited China in the past two weeks not attend school or childcare services until 14 days have lapsed from their date of departure from China.

Please note, our hospitals are not able to issue a clearance certificate for school attendance.

What should I do if I'm concerned?

Parents with concerns can contact their local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 for advice or visit the dedicated NSW Health information page. Additional fact sheets can be found here.

Up-to-date information is also provided on the NSW Health Facebook page.