The Department of Health and Human Services is asking health professionals across the sector to watch out for signs and symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in patients who may have travelled to areas affected by the outbreak.
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the new coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern

This site will be updated as new information becomes available.

Quick reference guide and checklist

The Coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19) General practice quick reference guide (Word) for general practitioners and health professionals provides advice for the management of suspected cases.

Guidelines for health services and general practitioners

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Guideline for health services and general practitioners (Word) provides more detailed clinical information and advice about novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Current Victorian coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case definition

The following case definitions are now in place in Victoria and in active use by the department and health sector:

1. Confirmed case

A person who tests positive to a specific SARS-CoV-2 PCR test or has the virus identified by electron microscopy or viral culture, at a reference laboratory.

2. Suspected case

Both clinical and epidemiological criteria need to be met for a person to be classified as a suspected case.

Clinical criteria

Fever OR acute respiratory infection (for example, shortness of breath or cough) with or without fever

AND

Epidemiological criteria

Travel to (including transit through) mainland China* in the 14 days before onset of illness

OR

Close or casual contact in the 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

*Mainland China excludes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Close contact and casual contact have a specific meaning as defined below.

3. Person under investigation

It is recommended that clinicians consider testing people with a clinically compatible illness who travelled to any of the following countries in the 14 days before onset of symptoms:

  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Thailand.

This list is based on the volume of travel between those countries, Australia and China, and/or the current epidemiology of COVID-19; however, the risk of COVID-19 in these countries is currently thought to be low. Clinical and public health judgement should be applied. The recommendation does not apply to passengers who have only been in transit through an airport in these countries.

Note: if a clinician determines that a person under investigation should be tested then that person must be managed as a suspected case.

A close or casual contact with compatible symptoms, after discussion with the department, may be classified as a suspected case and tested for novel coronavirus.

Close contact means at least 15 minutes face-to-face contact or the sharing of a closed space for more than two hours with a confirmed case.

Casual contact is a person having any face-to-face contact or sharing of a closed space with a confirmed case for less than two hours.

More detailed definitions of close and casual contacts are available in the guidelines for health services and general practitioners.

Updates to this case definition will be shown on this page.

Advice for clinicians

Clinicians should be alert for patients of any age presenting with respiratory symptoms who meet the suspected case definition above. Please ensure that patients presenting with compatible symptoms, especially pneumonia, are asked about travel to mainland China.

If you have a patient who meets the suspected case definition above, please follow the advice in the quick reference guide and checklist or the most current Chief Health Officer Alert.

If you suspect novel coronavirus infection you must notify the department as soon as practicable by calling 1300 651 160, 24 hours a day. Testing of patients who have been notified to the department and meet the suspected case definition will be prioritised, followed by persons under investigation.

Testing for COVID-19 in people who have not travelled to mainland China within the previous 14 days is now recommended for the countries listed above. When a patient has an illness that is compatible with novel coronavirus infection and has travelled overseas, testing can be considered. Call the department for advice on whether testing should be actively considered.

Chief Health Officer alerts

Chief Health Officer alert - 16 February 2020 - 2019 Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)  to Alert issued 11 February 2020 

To receive Chief Health Officer alerts, subscribe at: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/newsletters

Resources and factsheets for patients

Resources for health professionals

Factsheets for patients