A Melbourne doctor who treated at least 70 patients at his clinic and saw two others at a nursing home has been diagnosed with coronavirus, sparking rage and concern.
There are now 11 affirmed cases in Victoria, bringing the total number across Australia to at least 65.
New South Wales presently has the most noteworthy number of cases with 28 infected, while there is one affirmed case each in Northern Territory and Tasmania.
South Australia has seven affirmed cases while Queensland now has a total of 14 affirmed cases.
The Victorian doctor, a GP aged in his 70s, became ill on a flight from the United States to Australia at the end of a holiday, but returned to work at The Toorak Clinic in Toorak for five days anyway.
He was the last night diagnosed with the potentially deadly virus and Victorian Health authorities have been in contact with those who came in contact with him, urging them to self-isolate for 14 days.
“I have to say I am flabbergasted that a doctor that has flu-like symptoms has gone to work,” the state’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.
The man became unwell on a flight from Denver, Colorado to San Francisco in California on February 27, and afterward flew on to Melbourne on United Airlines flight 0060, arriving on the morning of February 29.
On Monday, he went to work at The Toorak Clinic on Malvern Road in the suburb of Toorak and saw at least 70 patients between then and Friday.
“Patients have been reached via text message this morning, or were called this morning, they will be followed up with emails,” Ms Mikakos said.
“This doctor likewise attended to two patients at a nursing home in Malvern during that time. The two nursing home patients have been isolated in their rooms and the department is working to provide support care for these residents.”
Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Brett Sutton told reporters there was a chance he infected some of his patients.
The doctor is currently in isolation but his decision to continue working when he was clearly sick has sparked outrage from the government.
“I understand our medical and healthcare workers are devoted to the work they do,” Ms Mikakos said.
“But it is irresponsible for people to be going to work if they are unwell, and that isn’t simply healthcare workers, it is everyone in the community who needs to take this very seriously.”
The Toorak Clinic has been closed down until further notice.
Federal authorities are also working to obtain the passenger manifest from the flight the man was on, so those who came in contact with him on board can be reached, she said.
“Passengers will be reached when it is made accessible.”
Meanwhile, Ms Mikakos reported that two international students at a school in Shepparton have tested negative for the virus.