After the recent news that American actor, Tom Hanks, had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) while in Australia, the country has now declared the virus is nationwide after its first recorded positive case was reported in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), according to ABC Australia.
A man in his 30s has tested positive for COVID-19 in Canberra. He is believed to have become unwell on Tuesday, local time. The man has since tested positive for the virus.
“I regret to inform Canberrans that we have our first case of COVID-19 in the territory,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said during a press conference.
“We were, of course, expecting COVID-19 to come to the territory, and following this confirmation now every state and territory in Australia has a confirmed case. We are expecting more in the coming weeks.”
Canberra, the capital city of the ACT, is also the location for the central government of Australia. However, it is unclear presently if the infected man is a member of parliament. What is known about the case, though, is that the man has not traveled outside of Australia recently but has been outside of the ACT.
While this is the first case of the coronavirus to be confirmed in Canberra, there was a recent scare when an Australian Defence Force (ADF) member in his 40s traveled to Canberra and was later diagnosed to have contracted COVID-19.
As of March 11, 2020, Australia has reported 112 cases of COVID-19, according to the Australian Department Of Health. This has been spread across the country with the majority (60 cases) in New South Wales (NSW), the state which surrounds the ACT. Fifteen cases each have been recorded in Queensland and Victoria, six cases in South Australia, four in Western Australia, and two reported cases in Tasmania. In addition, 10 cases have been reported in relation to the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and one of those cases involved a person who died. Two other deaths have occurred in Australia in relation to the coronavirus, both of which occurred in an aged care facility in NSW.
In response to the ongoing threat, Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a $17.6 billion stimulus package that aims to assist with the potential economic damage caused by the pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had been hesitant to call the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. However, it was forced to declare it after at least 114 countries have confirmed cases, over 120,000 people have tested positive, and more than 4,000 people have died as a result of the new virus.
For those in NSW and the ACT who are concerned that they may have come into contact with someone with the coronavirus, they are asked to call the Communicable Disease Hotline on (02) 5124 9213.