What happened when a man turned up to my waiting room with suspected coronavirus

Dr Sonu Haikerwal says GPs need more support to dealing with the growing public alarm

“I’ve been in Wuhan and now I feel sick.”

It is the phrase that no one wants to hear in a crowded waiting room, and Dr Sonu Haikerwal said it sent a ripple of panic through the dozen or so patients at her Gold Coast practice who overheard the man's announcement.

Since news of the coronavirus outbreak has sent the world into spin, GPs across Australia have been dealing with people fearing they may have been infected.

Many of the fears have allayed.

But the day before the arrival of Dr Haikerwal’s patient last Thursday, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer had announced the Gold Coast’s first confirmed case of the virus.

“The man was wearing a mask and although he said he was feeling some influenza symptoms, he did not appear to be seriously ill,” Dr Haikerwal said.

“I think he was more concerned than anything.”

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