Doctors are urging Australians to take steps to prevent a coronavirus pandemic from taking hold.
Key points:The coronaviruses are the most prevalent virus and cause the most deaths worldwideHealth workers are warning of the high risk of spreading the disease in the communityDr Jennifer Poon, an infectious diseases specialist, said coronaviroids were not yet a pandemic but it was a very serious oneDr Poon said coronovirus was not yet an epidemic but there was a high risk the virus could spread through the community in the form of a mild fever and sore throat.
“This pandemic is a very big one and there are a lot of different strains out there, and so we’re really trying to stay very vigilant about that,” she said.
“You need to be very, very careful, very, extremely cautious, and just make sure you’re doing your job.”
Dr Poo said it was important to keep a close eye on the health status of those who were in contact with someone who was in an incubation period.
“I think you can take steps in terms of being on your toes and taking precautions to protect yourself, but that’s not all that we’re going to be talking about today.”
She said the best thing to do for those who had symptoms was to remain vigilant, and to not panic.
“If you are feeling very weak and feeling very sick, that’s a good thing to say and that will keep you from spreading the virus, but if you’re feeling like you’re not feeling well, that can cause even more worry for you,” she added.
She said if a patient’s condition did not improve within 24 hours, the patient should seek medical advice.
Dr Pao said if the symptoms were mild, a cold or flu could be the cause, but she advised people to avoid contact with infected people.
“A very, strong, fever, sore throat, and cough, can cause a lot more complications,” she explained.
“And that’s because these things are so highly contagious, so if you’ve got some of these symptoms and it’s not really a cold, you’re at risk of contracting a virus that will get you infected with more.”
Dr Jennifer Keesmaat, a primary care physician in Melbourne, said it is important for people to remain calm, and not to be alarmed.
“There’s so many different kinds of virus, so it’s very, highly infectious, so be very cautious and be very vigilant,” she told ABC News Breakfast.
“We are always looking at what the best option is for you to get to a hospital as soon as possible, and then if that is not possible or if it’s just not possible to get there.”
Dr Keesmasat also advised people not to go to hospitals without proper protective equipment.
“People have to be extremely careful when they go to a medical facility,” she warned.
“Don’t be a little bit rash, don’t be aggressive, don’s not take anything you don’t need, and don’t come in contact or have contact with any of the people who might be infected with you.”
Dr Kennedy said while the coronaviral pandemic had passed, there was still a lot to be done.
“At this stage, it’s a very, small proportion of the total population who are infected,” she noted.
“So, there are very, many people out there who are not yet at the stage where they are becoming infected, and they’re still in their homes and people should be very careful with those people and take care of them as well.”