Coronavirus scare: Passenger taken off flight at airport
A PASSENGER has been taken off a domestic flight at Cairns Airport, after displaying flu-like symptoms - as authorities keep up their guard against the Coronavirus.
Virgin Australia confirmed that a male passenger, believed to have travelled from China several days ago, was taken off flight 790 at Cairns Airport, bound for Brisbane, after feeling unwell prior to the aircraft's scheduled takeoff about 7.45pm.
Fellow passengers reported the man coughing and spluttering while he was on board the aircraft.
"We can confirm a guest was feeling unwell prior to departure and was offloaded from the flight," a Virgin Australia spokesman said.
"Two additional guests voluntarily disembarked.
"For privacy reasons, we cannot provide any further details."
It is understood the ill passenger was met by paramedics and escorted to an ambulance waiting on the tarmac.
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the traveller was transferred to Cairns Hospital.
The flight departed Cairns more than an hour late and arrived in Brisbane just before 11.20pm.
Overnight the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus epidemic as a public health emergency of international concern.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the reason for their declaration was due to the virus' rapid spread to other nations.
There are two confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus in Queensland.
A 42-year-old woman, a Chinese national from Wuhan (Hubei Province) has been confirmed by Queensland Health to have the fast-spreading disease.
The woman was a member of the tour group travelling with the 44-year-old man confirmed with the virus on January 29.
Queensland's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said the woman was currently isolated in the Gold Coast University Hospital, and was stable.
In New South Wales, two people have been discharged from hospital in Sydney after making a full recovery.