“Children and staff who have recently returned from overseas and are well … are able to attend school as normal,” the spokesman said on Monday.
The advice comes as a 21-year-old woman and University of NSW student, who arrived in Sydney from Wuhan on China Eastern flight MU749 on Thursday, became the fifth person in Australia and the fourth in NSW to test positive for the virus.
“The student did not attend any classes at the university and stayed on her own in campus accommodation with no close contact before she was admitted to hospital,” University of NSW Vice-Chancellor Ian Jacobs and provost Anne Simmons told students in a statement on Monday.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the student developed symptoms about 24 hours after landing in Sydney and isolated herself.
The woman has since been taken to Westmead Hospital and placed in isolation.
Another six people in NSW are currently being tested for the virus and have been put in isolation.
The death toll from coronavirus has risen to 80, with more than 2700 confirmed cases of infection, according to China’s government.
About 30 of the confirmed cases are outside China, including reports of positive tests for the virus in Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the US, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France and Canada.
Australian authorities currently believe the virus can only be spread once a person begins showing symptoms, but a daily press conference will be held in NSW to share new information as it emerges.
The World Health Organisation said that the virus has an incubation period of two to ten days, according to current estimates, and that work is still being done to determine whether people not yet showing symptoms can transmit the disease to others.
“In previous outbreaks of other coronaviruses, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, some individuals can be asymptomatic and transmit to others,” the organisation said in its latest update.
Dr Chant said that people should get tested if they have any symptoms of coronavirus including a fever, coughing, a sore throat or a headache, and avoid school for 14 days if they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of the virus.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard also said that anyone who begins showing symptoms should isolate themselves and stay away from school or university.
The University of Technology Sydney said it is currently contacting staff and students who are travelling in the Wuhan region.
Newington College’s headmaster Michael Parker has told anyone who “has travelled to any part of China, including Hong Kong, over the recent holidays” to stay home for 14 days from their date of departure from China.
Tim Bowden, the head of Trinity Grammar School in the inner-west, has also told families who have been to Wuhan not to come to school for at least two weeks.
“This is a … more cautious approach than is currently recommended by NSW Health, but it seems to be sensible, given the amount that is not yet known about the situation,” Mr Bowden wrote in a letter to parents that was written in English and Mandarin.
Catholic school principals in Sydney’s west have been advised to “stay up-to-date with the latest advice” from health authorities, including knowing the symptoms, said the director of the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta., Greg Whitby.
The diocese “continues to monitor news of the spread of the coronavirus … We are aware that this is a developing situation”, Mr Whitby said.
The three other confirmed cases of coronavirus in NSW – three men aged 53, 43 and 35 – remain in isolation at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital.
A Chinese man, who was the first to test positive for the virus in Australia, remains in quarantine at the Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne.
All planes and trains out of Wuhan have been stopped and transport networks within the city of 11 million people have also been suspended as Chinese authorities try to contain the spread of the new virus.
Ten flights from other cities in China landed in Sydney on Monday and all passengers are being given health information about the virus and advice on what to do if they develop symptoms.
Education reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald
Georgina Mitchell is a court reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.