Julia 8 and her brother Charlie 6, dressed in traditional costume and Chinese lions ready for the Chinese New Year celebrations in Melbourne's Preston Market. Picture: David Caird

Fearing that the new coronavirus might spread in Australia, members of the Australian Chinese community called for one another to isolate themselves for a period of time after returning from China.

At this time, the NSW Health Department confirmed today that four people in the state are suspected of being infected with the coronavirus, and the incubation period of this deadly virus may be as long as 14 days, which means that some people may carry the virus but have not yet developed symptoms.

Days of intense discussions on the Chinese-language social media platform WeChat showed that the local Chinese community is worried that this new virus may be brought into Australia by compatriots who travel to China for the New Year, especially from Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, which is located in Several nearby cities in Hubei Province in central China have been blocked.

This year's Lunar New Year or Lunar New Year's Day is Saturday, January 1. The traditional Chinese New Year celebration lasts for 25 days. This is the peak season for many Australian Chinese and Chinese students to visit relatives and friends in China.

Although Australian state and federal health officials screened passengers directly from Wuhan for suspicious symptoms, some people worry that the risk may increase as the number of infections in other parts of China increases. As more and more Chinese Australians will return next month after the Lunar New Year celebration, there have been voices calling for the authorities to expand inspections of all travelers from China.

The Australian has learned that some anxious Chinese Australian parents in Sydney are writing to their children’s school, requesting that children who have recently been to China not be allowed to return to school when school starts next Wednesday, and recommending that they be isolated at home for at least one week.

One parent said in a parent WeChat group: “This is to be responsible for yourself and others.” Another parent said: “The children are still young and naive, and they have more physical contact. The infection is really terrible.”

The Queensland Chinese Physicians Association issued a message on WeChat calling on Chinese Australians to consciously isolate themselves for 14 days after returning from China, and advised them to make phone appointments with their family doctors before they feel unwell.

An electronic poster issued by an organization called "Micro Life" also echoed the above information, calling it "our greatest support for Wuhan."

At the same time, the Chinese Embassy in Australia also reminded Chinese citizens in Australia to pay attention and seek medical treatment in time.

"The Chinese Embassy in Australia reminds Chinese citizens in Australia to pay attention to relevant Australian measures and strengthen their own prevention. If you encounter symptoms such as fever and cough, please seek medical treatment in time," the Chinese Embassy in Australia announced through its official WeChat account.