Coronavirus Australia: Suggestion COVID-19 affecting wealthy Australians more due to travel

A doctor at an award-winning medical centre in one of Brisbane’s most economically disadvantaged suburbs says it has conducted fewer than 10 of his state’s 37,000 coronavirus tests.

Dr Matt Young, at Medeco Inala in Brisbane’s south-west, attributed the lack of people presenting with symptoms at his clinic to it being in a low socio-economic area.

He said at this point the virus appears to have been spread or imported by those who have travelled internationally and, sadly, that was not within the realms of many of the clinic’s clients.

“Our international travel rates are less than more affluent suburbs and I think, up until this point, and I stress up until this point, we’ve had very low incidents of people coming in with suspicious symptoms,” he told AAP.

“It’s a pretty big practice with seven GPs and we’ve tested little more than half a dozen.”

Coronavirus health signage at the Brisbane domestic airport terminal. Credit: Darren England/AAP

Other than anecdotal evidence, it’s hard to draw a clear picture on where virus clusters are in the Sunshine State because Queensland Health only offers information on regions.

By Thursday, Brisbane’s Metro North – which includes upmarket suburbs such as Ascot, Hamilton, Clayfield and Wilston – had the most positive tests with 144.

However, in Melbourne where there is more detailed information, viral clusters were forming in the more affluent areas.

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Department of Health and Human Services data shows leafy inner-suburb Stonnington, which includes South Yarra, Toorak and Prahran, topped the state with 58 cases.

Whereas lower- to mid-affluent areas Greater Dandenong, Maroondah, Knox and Macedon Ranges had recorded a total of three cases.

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‘We’ve had very low incidents of people coming in with suspicious symptoms.’

In NSW, 647 of the state’s 1219 cases were contracted overseas, according to NSW Health.

The highest cases were in Waverley (105) and Woollahra (66) in the wealthy eastern suburbs and the expensive Northern Beaches (68) as well as central Sydney (69).

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Young says he is not being dismissive, or saying coronavirus will not spread through low socio-economic areas.

He says everyone needs to be vigilant.

“It is a very real problem,” he said.

File image of people wearing face masks in front of the Sydney Opera House. Credit: STEVEN SAPHORE/AAPIMAGE

Medeco Inala was named the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners General Practice of the Year in 2018 following stunning success with patients with hepatitis C.

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