A doctor who recently returned from the US and treated dozens of patients has become Victoria’s 11th confirmed coronavirus case, health authorities have said.
The ailing medico, identified in media reports as Chris Higgins, 73, is the father of pop star Missy Higgins
State Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said Mr Higgins was confirmed to have the virus on Friday night, six days after returning from overseas, and was now recovering at home.
The doctor, from the Toorak Clinic in Malvern Road, consulted about 70 patients between March 2 and Friday, Ms Mikakos said.
He also treated two patients at a nursing home in Malvern during that time.
The nursing home residents have been isolated in their rooms and the Toorak Clinic has been closed until further notice.
All patients seen by the doctor and clinic staff are being contacted by the Department of Health and Human Services and are required to isolate themselves at home for 14 days.
“I have to say I am flabbergasted that a doctor that has flu-like symptoms has presented to work,” Ms Mikakos said.
“Our advice to the community is that if you have returned from overseas and are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms then please stay home. Do not go to work.
“You should self isolate until such time as you are able to be presenting to a doctor, getting medical advice about whether you potentially have over COVID-19.”
The GP became unwell with a runny nose on an internal flight from Denver to San Francisco on February 27. He then flew direct from San Francisco to Melbourne on United Airlines flight UA0060, arriving about 9:30am on February 29.
Ms Mikakos said passengers on the flight would be contacted as soon as the manifest was provided, or otherwise they could call the Victorian coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
She also revealed screening clinics at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Alfred, and Austin opened this morning, with another to open later today at Box Hill.
“This is effectively operating as a device to ensure that emergency departments in our public hospitals are able to manage increasing numbers of people presenting with concerns about COVID-19,” she said.
“People will be checked for symptoms and they will have a swab collected if that’s required.”
People should still call ahead before visiting the clinics, she added.