Chinese woman in Queensland confirmed as 15th Australian coronavirus case

Passengers from a China Southern Airlines flight touch down in Australia last month. Source: Getty

A 37-year-old Chinese woman confirmed as Queensland's fifth coronavirus case was travelling in the same group as the other cases in the state.

A fifth case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Queensland, taking the total number of confirmed cases in Australia to 15.

A 37-year-old Chinese woman travelling in Queensland has been confirmed on Thursday evening as infected with the deadly virus.

The woman was travelling with the same tour group as the previously confirmed cases and is currently isolated in a stable condition at Gold Coast Hospital.

All of the infected people are from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak.

Earlier on Thursday evening, a North Queensland primary school student who recently returned from China with flu-like symptoms had been cleared of coronavirus.

This fifth case brings the number of confirmed cases in Australia to 15: five in Queensland, four each in NSW and Victoria and two in South Australia.

Passengers wearing protective masks arrive at Sydney International Airport.
Passengers wearing protective masks arrive at Sydney International Airport.

Meanwhile, Queensland's premier warned that jobs could go within weeks without support from the federal government to help businesses survive the coronavirus.

The outbreak has already cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told parliament on Thursday.

She said she cannot fathom why the federal government has rejected her request to activate natural disaster relief funding in response to the outbreak.

She will continue to seek funding, claiming the tourism industry is being bled dry by travel bans.

The Cairns region alone has lost $200 million in forward bookings, and operators on the Gold Coast are estimated to lose up to $400 million, she told parliament.

"Farmers, fishers, tourism operators and universities all told of lost-business impacting now," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"There are trawlers unable to fish because the market for coral trout and premium mud crab has evaporated overnight."

She has asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison for disaster relief funding reserved for events like fires and floods.

But it does not cover disease outbreaks and changes to the funding would require a renegotiation between the states and the Commonwealth.

Mr Morrison said he expects to the economy to take a hit by this coronavirus in coming months.

A sign on display in the airport arrival hall on Christmas Island.
A sign on display in the airport arrival hall on Christmas Island.

"How much more it extends beyond that really does depend on how this virus continues to play out at a global level," he said.

Queensland's Economic Functional Recovery Group will meet on Thursday to discuss assistance measures which could range from possible tax and fee relief to storing surplus seafood intended for export markets.

Ms Palaszczuk also wants federal funding to cover the cost of promoting Queensland as a destination to people in Singapore, Japan and the US.

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe has warned coronavirus could cause a sharp slowdown in economic growth in China, Australia's biggest trading partner.

Health Minister Steven Miles on Thursday rushed a law through state parliament granting health officers three months to force suspected patients into quarantine or isolation and undergoing medical checks and tests.

Samples for testing are also being collected by private pathologists across the state.

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