Hundreds of passengers today arrived in Australia from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of a new deadly virus which is rapidly spreading around the world.
The passengers from China Eastern flight MU749 were wearing masks as they made their way through Sydney Airport’s arrivals hall just before midday after a 10-hour night flight on an A332 plane that can hold 234 people. It was last to leave the city of 11million before a quarantine was put in place and all outbound trains and planes were cancelled.
The passengers were screened in China before they boarded and, when their aircraft landed, they were asked by the pilot to declare if they felt unwell.
NSW Health had a team of four nurses and doctors, who wore masks but not full HAZMAT suits, at the airport to interview anyone who had cold-like symptoms before they went through customs.
The passengers were also screened by thermal imaging to check their temperatures – and given leaflets in English and Mandarin telling them to see a doctor if they suffered sweats, breathing difficulties or chills.
A plan was in place to take any passenger suspected of being infected to Westmead Hospital – but nobody was found to be sick.