The chief medical officer has shot down suggestions for coronavirus entry screening at parliament. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS


No virus screening for federal parliament

2020-01-31 11:32:17

Australia’s chief medical officer has shot down suggestions federal parliament should have entry screening for coronavirus.

Ahead of parliament’s return next week, Brendan Murphy said the World Health Organisation did not recommend entry screening to detect the deadly disease.

“Temperature checking is not an effective measure of screening,” he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

He said similar screening was used during the swine flu epidemic but it detected hardly any cases.

Australia is one of 18 countries where the disease has spread, with nine confirmed cases nationally.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said parliament was subject to the same standards as everywhere else in the country.

“We don’t deserve any special or better treatment than anybody else. One in, all in,” he said.

Professor Murphy said there was no suggestion the virus, which has killed more than 210 people in China, was being transmitted between humans in Australia.

“Our focus is on identifying the as yet very small number of cases, contract tracing and isolating those,” he said.