Testing rules out Chinese virus in Australian case

The Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan being sprayed with disinfectant on Jan 22, 2020.
The Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan being sprayed with disinfectant on Jan 22, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - Tests have found that a man suspected of contracting a Sars-like disease while visiting China does not have the new coronavirus, Australian health officials said on Wednesday (Jan 22).

The man was temporarily held in isolation at his Brisbane home after returning from the central Chinese city of Wuhan suffering a respiratory illness.

A Queensland Health spokesman said laboratory tests showed that the man had not been infected with the new virus.

Wuhan is the epicentre of an outbreak of the disease, which has spread to more than 400 people and killed nine.

The pathogen has caused alarm because it is from the same family as Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.