01 March 2020

NSW Health is urging people who have recently returned from Iran or another high risk country, to ensure they are aware of the symptoms and seek immediate health assessment if symptoms develop within 14 days of their departure from that country.

An adult male in his 40’s has been diagnosed with COVID-19 following recent travel from Iran. The man has had relatively mild symptoms but has been admitted to Westmead Hospital.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said this is the fifth person to be confirmed as having the virus in New South Wales, the previous four have all been discharged from hospital.

“This latest case arrived in Sydney from Iran on 22 February 2020. He did not develop symptoms until 24 February 2020 and was seen at a hospital emergency department and tested on 28 February,” Dr Chant said.

“He was advised to be isolated at home while waiting for the test result which was confirmed positive for COVID-19 late on 29 February.”

Another man in his 50’s is also under investigation for possible COVID-19 based on preliminary laboratory results.

The local Public Health Unit is following up contacts of the confirmed case in accordance with National Guidelines, and is also following up on contacts of the second possible case as a precaution.

NSW Health, as part of the ongoing international response, will continue to work closely with Commonwealth Government agencies to monitor travellers returning from China and Iran.

“Travellers from Iran should be particularly vigilant for symptoms as there has been a rapid increase in COVID-19 activity there in recent days,” Dr Chant said.

People who become unwell after travel from a number of other countries and regions are also recommended to be assessed for COVID-19 testing.

The newly confirmed case demonstrates the importance of returning travellers knowing the symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath.

“Anyone with these symptoms should isolate themselves from others and practise simple hygiene by covering their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their elbow and washing their hands thoroughly,” Dr Chant said.

It is important people take action to keep their family and friends safe, so don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor if you have any symptoms.

“Please call ahead to speak to your GP before visiting, or call healthdirect on 1800 022 222. GPs can arrange testing, of if you are very unwell you can also call ahead before attending your local Emergency Department for assessment.”

Health workers in NSW public hospitals and community-based GPs have been issued advice to help them identify any cases and apply careful infection control measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.​

For more information, find the facts at COVID-19 (Coronavirus).​