Sydney childcare centre shut down amid coronavirus as graph shows spike in Australian cases


A baby boy has been diagnosed with coronavirus just hours after authorities confirmed more than a dozen children will need to be tested after they visited an aged care facility housing multiple infected residents.

The eight-month-old is the son of a 40-year-old Iranian woman who flew into South Australia from Iran earlier this week. 

A 58-year-old man has also been diagnosed in Adelaide as well as a woman who flew into Western Australia from the UK via Dubai, taking the national toll to 57 people.

It comes after an estimated 17 toddlers from Banksia Cottage childcare centre in Macquarie Park visited the Dorothy Henderson Lodge on February 24th for a school excursion.

In the days to follow, the facility confirmed four separate cases of coronavirus – including a 95-year-old woman who died on Wednesday and a staff member. 

A clinic will be set up on Thursday evening, and families with children who attended will be invited to screen for coronavirus. 

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Banksia Cottage, in Macquarie University, is just metres from an aged-care home where multiple cases of the infectious disease have been reported this week

Paramedics and emergency services in surgical aprons, masks and gloves arrived at the daycare on Thursday before it received the all clear

Paramedics and emergency services in surgical aprons, masks and gloves arrived at the daycare on Thursday before it received the all clear

Macquarie Park has been identified as the epicentre of the virus in Australia, with six of the 57 confirmed cases coming from the suburb. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday confirmed more than 10,000 Australians had been tested for coronavirus since diagnosing the first case in late January. 

Tens of thousands more had chosen to self isolate after returning from international trips. 

A new graph illustrates how rapidly coronavirus is spreading throughout Australia, as the rest of the world braces for a global pandemic.

On Wednesday, an additional 13 cases were reported across Australia, including the first diagnosis in the Northern Territory.

Internationally, 95,180 people have been infected throughout 84 countries. Of those, at least 3,254 have died.    

This graph details the spike in cases in early March after a lull throughout February

This graph details the spike in cases in early March after a lull throughout February

An estimated 17 toddlers from Banksia Cottage childcare centre in Macquarie Park visited the Dorothy Henderson Lodge on February 24th for a school excursion. Pictured: Signage at the entrance of the nursing home

An estimated 17 toddlers from Banksia Cottage childcare centre in Macquarie Park visited the Dorothy Henderson Lodge on February 24th for a school excursion. Pictured: Signage at the entrance of the nursing home

In response to the significant increase in local cases, the prime minister implemented a travel ban between Australia and South Korea from 9pm Thursday.

The ban means anyone who has been in Korea will have to spend 14 days in a third country before returning to Australia. It will remain in place for people coming from China and Iran, too.

A further 20million face masks are also in circulation to help curb the spread of the infection. 

Mr Morrison said there will not be a ban in place for Italy, despite the high infection rate, because tourists from Korea arrive at a rate five times higher than Italy. 

Enhanced screening methods will also be in place for people arriving from Italy.

Pictured: A man walking through Sydney with a face mask on amid coronavirus concerns on March 2

Pictured: A man walking through Sydney with a face mask on amid coronavirus concerns on March 2

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews tours the Doherty Institute in Melbourne on Tuesday, March 3 as scientists conduct research on coronavirus

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews tours the Doherty Institute in Melbourne on Tuesday, March 3 as scientists conduct research on coronavirus

‘Today’s actions are the latest in a carefully considered plan which are being implemented as needed,’ Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

Despite the new cases and more stringent travel warnings, Mr Morrison encouraged Australians to stay calm and continue about their daily business.

Although, the New South Wales state government has temporarily cancelled scheduled trips between childcare centres and nursing homes.

New South Wales Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said there is no indication any of the children who visited Dorothy Henderson Lodge are carrying the virus, but testing will be undertaken for ‘utmost prudency’.  

A staff member from the childcare centre fell sick after the visit and presented herself to her GP. She and her partner were both tested for coronavirus overnight and were given the all clear. 

Globally, people are preparing for a potential pandemic by stocking up on supplies and wearing masks in public (Pictured: people walking through New York with surgical masks)

Globally, people are preparing for a potential pandemic by stocking up on supplies and wearing masks in public (Pictured: people walking through New York with surgical masks)

Macquarie University told Daily Mail Australia the childcare centre has since reopened. 

‘NSW Health has advised there is currently no need for either Banksia or Gumnut childcare centres to close and they will continue to operate as normal.

‘At this stage no children from either childcare centre have presented with symptoms of COVID-19. The centres remain in close contact with parents and NSW Health regarding any recommended next steps.’

Ms Chant reiterated that medical authorities don’t yet completely understand how coronavirus – now known as COVID-19 – affects children.

WHY MACQUARIE PARK IS AUSTRALIA’S CORONAVIRUS EPICENTRE

Macquarie Park in Sydney’s north is a densely populated suburb with a high population of university students and Chinese nationals.  

More than 20 per cent of people living in Macquarie Park, 13km north-west of Sydney’s CBD, have Chinese ancestry – compared to just 3.9 per cent nationally.

It is home to six of the country’s 53 cases of coronavirus, as the government admits it has no way of controlling the spread of the fatal respiratory disease.

A staggering 70 per cent of residents have foreign-born parents, compared to just 34.4 per cent nationally.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell on Thursday suggested the government also has the power to shut down schools if they deem it necessary. 

‘If the pandemic plan comes into force and there is more action we need to take, we do have the mechanisms to be able to do that [close schools],’ she said on Sky News.

‘If there’s a particular case that affects a certain school, then obviously the focus would be on individual schools.’

The daycare centre in question is located inside Macquarie University. On Wednesday, the school confirmed a lecturer had been struck down with the disease. 

Parents of children at the facility were notified to keep their children home from school while a staff member was being tested.

Test results came back as negative for coronavirus, and the aged-care facility told Daily Mail Australia they were taking the necessary precautions to limit the spread.

‘We have taken a firm approach to ensure any staff identified as being at risk are isolated and we have taken the added precaution of confining residents to their rooms across the centre,’ a spokeswoman said.

‘The NSW Health Infection Control team are also working with our team on the ground to provide additional support and reduce the risk of further exposure.’  

Australians have been advised to avoid all travel to Iran (pictured, a hospital in Tehran) after more than 60 people died of coronavirus in the country

Australians have been advised to avoid all travel to Iran (pictured, a hospital in Tehran) after more than 60 people died of coronavirus in the country

Two people have died of the illness – which is now known as COVID-19 – in Australia. 

The first was 78-year-old travel agent James Kwan, from Perth. He and his wife were among 700 who were struck down with the illness on board the ill-fated Diamond Princess cruise.   

The second was a 95-year-old woman who medics believe was exposed to the disease at her nursing home in Macquarie Park after one of the staff was also diagnosed.

Australia appeared to experience a lull in the infection rate between February 6th and February 21st, before steadily increasing again until the beginning of March, when cases spiked globally.

On January 25, there were only four cases in Australia and they were confined to two states – three in New South Wales and one in Victoria.

But less than six weeks later that number has jumped to 53, and victims are spread throughout every state except the Australian Capital Territory.

As infection rates soar, people are increasingly panic-buying supplies from their local supermarkets, causing nationwide supply shortages. 

Coles and Woolworths stores are reporting shortages of toilet paper, hand sanitiser and long-life goods such as pasta and tinned food.

Woolworths were even forced to introduce a radical four-packet limit on toilet paper, as well as a two per person limit on hand sanitiser, which is now being kept behind the counter along with cigarettes. 

John Robertson, the CEO of Foodbank Australia, which delivers food to charities, said the organisation has increased food stock orders. 

A survival expert has recommended Australians stock up on canned goods that can last for up to ten years

A survival expert has recommended Australians stock up on canned goods that can last for up to ten years 

At Costco warehouses, shoppers loaded up their trolleys with extra-large packs of toilet tissue

At Costco warehouses, shoppers loaded up their trolleys with extra-large packs of toilet tissue

‘What we expect is if things escalate to the point where businesses close and people aren’t being paid, people will be look for support from charities for food,’ Mr Robertson told News Corp.

The charity is stocking up on soup, fruits, vegetables, pet food and baby formula and recommended people stock up on bread, wraps, pasta and pizza bases if they’re considering buying additional supplies. 

Dr Kean-Feng Lim, NSW president of the Australian Medical Association said medical supplies should be the primary concern, particularly panadol and ibuprofen.

‘Making sure you get a good night’s sleep, making sure you’ve got an adequate diet with preferably five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit a day, and if you can aim for three different colours you will cover a lot of vitamins and antioxidants your body needs,’ Dr Lim said.

Toiletries including nappies, toilet paper, detergent, toothpaste and feminine hygiene products were also in high demand. 

Chinese vegetable vendors wear protective masks as they wait for customers at a local market

Chinese vegetable vendors wear protective masks as they wait for customers at a local market

Victims are spread throughout every state except the Australian Capital Territory

SURVIVALIST’S GUIDE TO CORONAVIRUS 

Australian Survivalism group member Clay said people should be most concerned about ensuring they have enough tinned foods. 

He described items like canned tuna, tomatoes, peas and peaches as invaluable due to their long shelf life.   

‘Canned goods stored in the correct environment, nice and cool, out of the sun away from moisture will last for over ten years easily,’ Clay said.

‘What you eat normally, store it in cans.’

He also suggested stocking up on rice which can be frozen to last up to thirty years.

‘Peanut butter will last forever. Honey simply does not have a shelf life,’ he said.

Along with canned goods, the survival expert said stocking up on anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer was highly important.

He urged Australians to buy vitamins like zinc, protein powder, mens and womens multi-vitamins and immune boosters – along with buying a P2 protective face mask.

Other recommended items to keep in the house include matches, batteries and a torch. 

The nation’s chief medical officer, Professor Brandon Murphy, conceded the disease would likely penetrate Australian shores – and announced during a press conference the concern was no longer preventing the spread but delaying it.

‘It is no longer possible to absolutely prevent new cases coming in, given the increasing changes in epidemiology around the country,’ Prof Murphy told reporters on Monday.

In at least two of the cases, the patients had no obvious links to coronavirus and had not travelled overseas in recent months, meaning the disease is spreading within Australia.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said they are unable to track the source of the infection. 

‘It is concerning when we have somebody present with coronavirus and we can’t track the source.’ 

‘In this case [the aged care worker], this much-loved staff member had not travelled. She had not been overseas. She had not been to any of the hot spots around the world. So, that raises the question, how did she end up with coronavirus?’ 

Experts predict the number of cases is likely to soar in the coming days.

Former Reserve Bank of Australia board member Warwick McKibbin warned a global pandemic could wipe out 68 million people worldwide, including 96,000 Australians.

Even a mild pandemic could kill 21,000 Australians and 15 million globally.

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitted there was ‘every indication’ the world would imminently enter ‘the pandemic phase of the virus’.

The virus can infect anyone, but the most at-risk population are the elderly or people with autoimmune diseases.  

Passengers from a China Cruise Ship are seen arriving at Sydney Opera House with no health screen checks amid fears of the coronavirus outbreak on February 27

Passengers from a China Cruise Ship are seen arriving at Sydney Opera House with no health screen checks amid fears of the coronavirus outbreak on February 27

Supermarket shelves have been stripped bare as shoppers race to pile up on food (Pictured: Brisbane Woolworths with pasta shelves entirely empty)

Supermarket shelves have been stripped bare as shoppers race to pile up on food (Pictured: Brisbane Woolworths with pasta shelves entirely empty)

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA CLIMB TO 57

NEW SOUTH WALES: 24

January 25 

Three men aged 43, 53, and 35 who had recently travelled to China contracted the disease.

Two flew in from Wuhan while the other arrived in Sydney from Shenzhen, south China.

They were treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital. 

January 27  

A 21-year-old woman is identified as the fourth person to test positive for the illness in NSW.

The woman, a student at UNSW, flew into Sydney International Airport on flight MU749 on January 23 and presented to the emergency department 24 hours later after developing flu-like symptoms.

March 1 

A man in his 40s is confirmed as the fifth coronavirus case in the state and a woman in her 50s as the sixth. Both returned to Sydney from Iran. 

March 2 

The 41-year-old sister of a man who had returned from Iran with the disease was one of three confirmed cases. The second locally-acquired case was a 53-year-old male health worker who hadn’t travelled for many months.

The other new case is a 31-year-old man who flew into Sydney on Saturday from Iran and developed symptoms 24 hours later.

March 3

Six more cases are confirmed in NSW. They included a 39-year-old man who had flown in from Iran and a 53-year-old man who arrived from Singapore last Friday.

Two women aged in their 60s who arrived in Sydney from South Korea and Japan respectively were also confirmed.

A man in his 30s who returned from Malaysia to Sydney on Malindo Air flight OD171 on March 1 was also confirmed infected.   

A 50-year-old woman is diagnosed with coronavirus. The woman is a carer at a nursing home in Macquarie Park in Sydney’s north. She had not been overseas and contracted the virus in Australia. 

March 4

A 95-year-old woman died at a Sydney hospital on Wednesday night after developing a respiratory illness from the coronavirus, bringing the death toll to two.

A Macquarie University lecturer tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday after returning from Iran. 

A further six cases confirmed on Wednesday evening. They included an 82-year-old aged care resident from the Dorothy Henderson Lodge, where the 95-year-old woman was staying.

The new cases include a female doctor who works at Liverpool hospital, a female patient from the Northern Beaches, a male from Cronulla, a woman who returned from the Phillippines and a woman in her 70s. 

March 5

A health care worker, who attended the same conference as the doctor from Ryde Hospital, also tests positive.

VICTORIA: 10

January 25  

A Chinese national aged in his 50s becomes the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Australia.

The man flew to Melbourne on China Southern flight CZ321 from Wuhan via Guangzhou on January 19.

He was quarantined at Monash Hospital in Clayton in Melbourne’s east.

January 29   

A Victorian man in his 60s is diagnosed with the coronavirus.

He became unwell on January 23 – two days after returning from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

The man was confirmed as positive on January 29 and was subsequently seen by doctors at the Monash Medical Centre.

January 30 

 A woman in her 40s is found to have coronavirus.

She was visiting from China and mostly spent time with her family.

She is being treated at Royal Melbourne Hospital. 

February 1 

A woman in her 20s in Melbourne is found to have the virus. 

February 22

Two passengers taken off the Diamond Princess cruise ship test positive. 

February 25

Another passenger taken off the cruise ship tests positive. 

March 1

Victorian man confirmed to have coronavirus after the 78-year-old was evacuated to Melbourne from a Darwin quarantine centre.

It is confirmed a Victorian woman in her 30s has tested positive for coronavirus after flying from Malaysia to Melbourne via Indonesia.

March 4

Victorian man in his 30s confirmed to have coronavirus after returning from Iran. Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the man was ‘almost symptom-free’ after self-isolating 

QUEENSLAND: 11

January 29

Queensland confirms its first case after a 44-year-old Chinese national was diagnosed with the virus. He is being treated at Gold Coast University Hospital.

January 30

A 42-year-old Chinese woman who was travelling in the same Wuhan tour group as the 44-year-old man tests positive. She is in Gold Coast University Hospital in stable condition.

February 4

An eight-year-old boy was diagnosed with coronavirus. He is also from the tour group where the other Queensland cases came from.

February 5

A 37-year-old man, who was a member of a group of nine Chinese tourists in quarantine on the Gold Coast, also tested positive.

February 6  

A 37-year-old woman was diagnosed with coronavirus from the same travel group that flew to Queensland from Melbourne on January 27.

February 21 

Two Queensland women, aged 54 and 55, tested positive for COVID-19 and will be flown to Brisbane for further treatment.

A 57-year-old woman from Queensland also tested positive for the virus.

February 28

A 63-year-old woman was confirmed to have the virus after returning to the Gold Coast from Iran.

March 3

A 20-year-old man from China was confirmed as the tenth person to be infected by the coronavirus in Queensland. The man had travelled to Dubai for at least 14 days before entering Australia, via Brisbane on February 23. 

March 4

A 26-year-old man from Logan in Brisbane is diagnosed with coronavirus. He arrived back in Australia from Iran.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 7

February 1  

A Chinese couple in their 60s who arrived in Adelaide from Wuhan to visit relatives are confirmed to have coronavirus.

A 24-year-old woman from South Australia was transferred to Royal Adelaide Hospital.

March 4

Mother, 40, is diagnosed after flying to Australia from Iran via Kuala Lumpur. 

Another 24-year-old woman, not related to the previous woman, was in a stable condition in Adelaide hospital after falling ill following overseas travel.

March 5

The eight-month-old child of the 40-year-woman, diagnosed on March 4, is also diagnosed with coronavirus.

A 58-year-old man who travelled to SA on March 3 from Taiwan also tests positive

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 3

February 21 

A 78-year-old man from Western Australia was transferred to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth. On February 28, he was taken into intensive care in a ‘serious’ condition and later died. His wife was also diagnosed with coronavirus.

March 1 

The elderly man died in the early hours of the morning from the virus at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

March 5

A woman in Perth is diagnosed with the virus after flying into the city from the UK, via Dubai 

TASMANIA: 1  

March 2

The man who travelled from Iran to Australia on Saturday tested positive for COVID-19.

NORTHERN TERRITORY: 1 

March 4

A tourist in Darwin has tested positive for coronavirus in what is the first confirmed case in the Northern Territory.

NT Health confirmed the 52-year-old man as the first case of COVID-19 in the community on Wednesday evening. 

The man recently arrived in Darwin via Sydney and has had limited contact with the local community, NT Health said in a statement. 



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