A Melbourne doctor treated 70 patients even after feeling sick on a plane ride home. Now he's been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Lindsey Wasson/ReutersA nurse holds a completed coronavirus test.
  • A Melbourne doctor attended a conference in the US and returned with flu-like symptoms.
  • The doctor continued to go to work, seeing around 70 patients, before being diagnosed with the new coronavirus.
  • Health officials in Australia have made contact with the patients to make sure they self-quarantine for two weeks.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Health authorities in Victoria have been trying to contact 70 patients of a Melbourne doctor who was diagnosed with coronavirus, the Guardian reported.

The region’s Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos, told Guardian that the doctor had attended work and treated patients after he started showing symptoms.

“I have to say I am flabbergasted that a doctor that has flu-like symptoms has presented to work,” Mikakos said.

Mikakos said the doctor “became unwell with a runny nose on an internal flight from Denver to San Francisco” on February 27, and then flew from San Francisco to Melbourne on a United Airlines flight.

The clinic where the doctor worked was closed following his diagnosis, the Guardian reported.

Patients have been contacted by text message, phone or email and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Two patients the doctor treated in a nursing home were isolated.

“Our advice to the community is that if you have returned from overseas and are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms than 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 Covid-19,” Mikakos said, according to the Guardian.

The doctor’s symptoms were mild, but the decision to treat patients while sick was not up to him, according to the Guardian.

Passengers on the flight with the doctor would also be contacted, Mikakos said, but added there were no other public exposure sites for the case.

  • Read more:

The coronavirus has pandemic ‘potential’ as it spreads in South Korea, Italy, and Iran, according to WHO


One key indicator will tell us when the coronavirus outbreak is winding down – but we’re not seeing it yet

A day-by-day breakdown of coronavirus symptoms shows how the disease, COVID-19, goes from bad to worse

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.