Australians should be alert but not alarmed about the deadly coronavirus, the Prime Minister says.

A number of Australians have been tested for the deadly coronavirus which has led to four deaths to date from more than 200 cases in China.

But there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in Australia as authorities ramp up precautions.

A Brisbane man being tested for the virus was released from isolation on Tuesday.

He shows no ongoing symptoms and test results are expected in coming days, Queensland Health said.

Biosecurity measures have been ramped up for flights into the country from China, and the city of Wuhan in particular.

The sprawling capital of central China’s Hubei province is the epicentre of the coronavirus, which is said to have started in animals before spreading to humans.

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The man who was placed in isolation at his home flew into Brisbane earlier in January after visiting family in Wuhan, where the virus broke out in December.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australians should be alert but not alarmed by the “evolving situation”.

Biosecurity measures are in place and the three flights Australia receives from Wuhan each week would be closely monitored, says Mr Morrison.

He said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has raised the level of its travel advisory for Wuhan which recommends travellers exercise a high degree of caution while in the city.

“I’m advised by the Chief Medical Officer the risk of transmission in Australia remains low, however the situation is evolving,” Mr Morrison said on Twitter.

He said a national response centre is online and coordinating a response with federal, states and territory health experts.

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“We are prepared to deal with this situation,” he said.

“While Australians should remain alert, they should not be alarmed.”

Heath Minister Greg Hunt said authorities had powers to take those who may be suffering from symptoms directly to hospital.

“They do have the capacity because of the measures taken to bring people directly to hospital if that were required,” Mr Hunt told Sky News on Wednesday.

“But we expect that any passengers that do have issues will self-report because it’s in their own interests but if not, then there are strong powers.”

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has urged anyone who has come from Wuhan and develops flu-like symptoms to seek medical attention.

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“The risks really at present remain particularly focused on people coming from that region of China, particularly the city of Wuhan,” Prof Murphy told the ABC.

“That’s why we have ramped up biosecurity measures meeting those three direct flights from Wuhan a week.”

He said there is no evidence that the virus is present in Australia.

Health screenings will be ramped up at Australian airports after it was confirmed the virus can be spread from person to person.

 

AAP

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