As the full clinical spectrum of illness is not known, clinical and public health judgement should also be used to determine the need for testing in patients who do not meet the epidemiological or clinical criteria below.
If the patient satisfies epidemiological and clinical criteria, they are classified as a suspect case.
- Travel to (including transit through) mainland China in the 14 days before the onset of illness.
- Close contact (see close contact definition below) in 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed case of 2019-nCoV.
- Acute respiratory infection (e.g. shortness of breath or cough) with or without fever.
A person who tests positive to a specific 2019-nCoV PCR test or has the virus identified by electron microscopy or viral culture, at a reference laboratory.
Close contact definition
A close contact is defined as requiring:
- greater than 15 minutes face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed case in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case, or
- sharing of a closed space with a confirmed case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case.
For the purposes of surveillance, a close contact includes a person meeting any of the following criteria:
- Living in the same household or household-like setting (e.g. in a boarding school or hostel).
- Direct contact with the body fluids or laboratory specimens of a case without recommended PPE (PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT) or failure of PPE.
- A person who spent 2 hours or longer in the same room (such as a GP or ED waiting room).
- A person in the same hospital room when an aerosol generating procedure is undertaken on the case, without recommended PPE.
- Aircraft passengers who were seated in the same row as the case, or in the two rows in front or two rows behind a confirmed 2019-nCoV case. Contact tracing of people who may have had close contact on long bus or train trips should also be attempted where possible, using similar seating/proximity criteria.
- All crew-members on an aircraft who worked in the same cabin area as a confirmed case of 2019-nCoV. If a crew member is the 2019-nCoV case, contact tracing efforts should concentrate on passengers seated in the area where the crew member was working during the flight and all of the other members of the crew.
Contact needs to have occurred within the period extending 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the case until the case is classified as no longer infectious by the treating team.