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Australia confirms first case of deadly China coronavirus

Australia's first case of the deadly coronavirus has been confirmed in Victoria.

A medical worker writes their colleague's name on a protective suit to aid in identification as they work at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province. Source: Associated Press

The state health minister Jenny Mikakos today said a case of the respiratory condition had been confirmed in a man who last week returned from China.

The man, a Chinese national in his 50s, went to a GP on Thursday and to the Monash Medical Centre at Clayton on Friday where he was put into isolation.

He returned a positive test for the virus on Saturday morning. It's the first confirmed case in Australia.

"There is no reason for alarm in the general community," Ms Mikakos said.

The man has pneumonia and is in a stable condition, being treated in a negative pressure isolation room, Acting Chief Health Officer Angie Bone said.

The man arrived in Melbourne at 9am on January 19, on a China Southern flight from Guangzhou, and Dr Bone said border screening would not have detected the virus.

Ms Mikakos said all passengers would be contacted out of precaution.

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Auckland Hospital’s Mark Thomas explained to Breakfast how the deadly illness has spread. Source: Breakfast

"He did not show any symptoms whilst he was on the fight so it's possible he wasn't contagious but there's a lot we don't know about this virus at this point," she said.

The man had been staying with family and had not been out and about so the risk to the broader community was minimised, she added.

Australia's Chief medical Officer Brendan Murphy said it was important for people arriving from Wuhan, and those in close contact with them, to monitor for symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat,vomiting and difficulty breathing.

"We don't know exactly how long symptoms take to show after a person has been infected but there is an incubation period and some patients will have very mild symptoms," Professor Murphy said.

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The ministry’s director of public health, Caroline McElnay spoke to Breakfast about the deadly virus. Source: Breakfast

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs has overnight raised the level of travel advice for Wuhan and Hubei province to "do not travel" while the disease is now listed as having "pandemic potential" allowing border measures to be enhanced.

The outbreak originated in Wuhan, a Chinese city of 11 million people and cases have now been confirmed in 10 other countries.

Five people are undergoing testing for the virus in NSW and two in Queensland.

A number of people have already been cleared in both states.

The virus has already killed more than 40 people in China and infected upward of 1000 people around the world.