Shannen Findlay

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Australia moves to quash airborne coronavirus warning

Australia moves to quash airborne coronavirus warning

While Chinese officials have reportedly confirmed that the coronavirus can be passed on through aerosol transmission, Australia's National Critical Care and Response Centre Medical Director Professor Dianne Stephens is looking to move past the airborne theory. 

The deadly virus is believed to be able to spread far distances in a short amount of time, and the theory comes as the number of confirmed cases worldwide surpassed 37,500 people. 

The latest death toll in China has reached a staggering 812, making the coronavirus more deadly than the SARS epidemic between 2002-2003 that killed 774 people. 

Before it was believed the coronavirus could only be spread through two ways, direct or contact transmission. 

Direct transmission is considered when a person breathes in the air of a patient who is infected, while contact transmission occurs when an infected person touches an object carrying the virus and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes. 

However the China Daily has reported that the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau deputy head Zeng Qun confirmed coronavirus can be spread through the air.

As reported by SBS, Mr Qun said: "Aerosol transmission refers to the mixing of the virus with droplets in the air to form aerosols, which causes infection after inhalation, according to medical experts. 

"As such, we have called on the public to raise their awareness of the prevention and control of the disease caused by family gatherings."

The Chinese government is urging their citizens in the district of Wuhan especially to remain at home, avoid social gatherings where there are large groups of people, keep windows open and to disinfect door handles, toilet seats and dining tables.

Despite confirmed reports, Australia's National Critical Care and Response Centre Medical Director Professor Dianne Stephens is wanting to squash the airborne belief.

"(Coronavirus) is droplet spread, if I cough on you and I have the coronavirus, then you are at risk. If I have a mask on and you do, it prevents that from happening," she said Monday, as reported by SBS

The reports on how coronavirus is transmitted has been conflicting and comes as 266 Australian evacuees from the Chinese city of Wuhan landed in the Northern Territory for further testing.

The group are being quarantined in the Manigurr Ma village, just 30km from Darwin.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy has validities that all the passengers were physically well and that appropriate steps were being taken to ensure everyone remained safe.

“In the Darwin facility, they'll go to the Darwin Hospital where they'll be tested and, if they are negative, that's good, if they're positive, they'll be properly treated there,” he confirmed. 

There have been 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia; five in Queensland, four each in New South Wales and Victoria, as well as two in South Australia.