Peter Dutton: Australia minister tests positive for virus

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Home Affairs Peter DuttonImage source, Getty Images
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Mr Dutton had recently travelled to Washington DC

A senior member of the Australian government, home affairs minister Peter Dutton, has tested positive for coronavirus, he said on Friday.

Mr Dutton, who sits on the national security committee, said he woke up with a "temperature and sore throat".

He said he immediately contacted his local health department in Queensland and is now in hospital.

There are currently 156 confirmed cases in Australia, including US actor Tom Hanks, who is in Queensland.

Hanks is there with his wife Rita Wilson - who also has the virus - to make a film about Elvis Presley.

"This morning I woke up with a temperature and sore throat. I feel fine and will provide an update in due course," said Mr Dutton on Twitter.

"It is the policy of Queensland Health that anyone who tests positive is to be admitted into hospital and I have complied with their advice."

Mr Dutton had on Thursday been asked why people entering Australia weren't being tested. He said it was not possible to test everyone coming into the country.

"For 99% of people there's no issue," he said, according to radio station 4BC.

Mr Dutton recently travelled to Washington DC for a meeting on child sexual exploitation. While there, he met President Trump's daughter, Ivanka.

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Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for gatherings of more than 500 people to be cancelled, but said he would still attend a weekend rugby game.

Three people in Australia have died from the virus so far, but health officials warn that millions more are likely to contract the virus within the next six months.

"We're anticipating 20% of the population in the first wave to be affected," said Kerry Chant, the chief medical officer for the New South Wales (NSW) state government, according to a Reuters report.

More than 125,000 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in 118 countries around the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Media caption,

'Wash hands' written in skies above Sydney