A travel ban was imposed on South Korea on Thursday, with Italian travellers still allowed in but subject to health checks on departure and on arrival, as Australian cases of coronovirus continue a steady rise.
NSW remains the hotspot, with four cases at an aged care home, and two doctors now diagnosed with the virus. Both doctors attended a radiology conference on February 18 and NSW Health is contacting 70 doctors who attended the same conference.
The aged care home, where one person died and three others are sick, is quarantined, and a group of children from the Banksia childcare centre at Macquarie University who visited the aged care home on February 24, are being assessed.
Also on Thursday, an eight-month-old baby in Adelaide was diagnosed with the virus. His mother also has coronavirus after the paid returned from Iran at the weekend.
Australia now has travel bans covering China, Iran and South Korea. Australian citizens, permanent residents and immediate family are allowed in but must stay at home in isolation for 14 days. The South Korea ban took effect at 9pm on Thursday evening.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said travellers from Italy would be questioned on check-in and not be allowed to board if they failed that check. On arrival in Australia they would be asked more detailed health questions and temperatures would be checked. They would not be able to use smart gates at the airport, and border force and biosecurity officials would be deployed in the baggage halls.
On Thursday afternoon, Australian cases stood at 52, 22 of them in NSW. The ACT is the only jurisdiction yet to record a case, with 81 negative tests in Canberra by 2pm on Thursday. The Northern Territory recorded its first case on Wednesday evening
Australian cases have more than doubled in a week, from 23 last Thursday, all confined to the original Wuhan travel group and the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Of the 30 cases diagnosed since, 10 are people returned from Iran, or family members, and six are people who have flown from Singapore, Europe, Dubai, Japan and South Korea. In at least six cases to date, the virus appears to have been contracted in Australia.
Australian authorities are also trying to gear up local manufacturing for masks and other protective gear and are looking to secure supply chains for medicines and other equipment.
Dentists are warning of a critical shortage of masks, saying they have enough to last only four to six weeks more. Dental supplies were sourced from Wuhan before the city was shut down, and are now being sourced from other countries, but the Australian Dental Association says it is becoming harder to get masks as countries held on to their stocks, and suppliers were charging up to 20 times the usual cost.
The association's deputy chief executive, Eithne Irving, said dentists had not been given access to the government stockpile, but if the government secured masks from local manufacturers dentists should have access. Dentists used 9.5 million masks a month and would be forced to close without a resolution, she said.
Mr Morrison said Australia had five times the volume of travel from South Korea as Italy and Border Force had told him they could screen Italian arrivals but not both countries at once, at least initially. A second reason for treating Italy differently was a travel ban on there would raise the issue of travel from Europe more generally.
Mr Morrison said every Australian had a role to play in managing and containing the spread of coronavirus.