Health authorities have confirmed Australia's first case of the deadly coronavirus in Victoria.

Acting Chief Health Officer Angie Bone said the man, a Chinese national in his 50s, went to a GP on Thursday and to the Monash Medical Centre at Clayton on Friday where he was put into isolation.

He returned a positive test for the virus on Saturday morning. It's the first confirmed case in Australia.

The man has pneumonia and is in a stable condition, being treated in a negative pressure isolation room,

"There is no reason for alarm in the general community," Ms Mikakos said.

‘No reason for alarm’: First case of coronavirus confirmed in Australia as death toll rises to 40_1
Inset: China's coronavirus death toll climbs daily as at least 11 people were tested in Australia on Thursday. Photo: AAP

China's National Health Commission said in a statement on Saturday 41 people have now died from the new coronavirus that has infected more than 1000 people globally.

As health authorities around the world scramble to prevent a global pandemic, the total number of confirmed cases in China now stands at 1287.

Dr Bone said the Chinese man arrived in Melbourne at 9am on January 19 on a China Southern flight from Guangzhou.

She said border screening would not have detected the virus.

The state health minister Jenny Mikakos on Saturday said all passengers on that flight would be contacted out of precaution.

"He did not show any symptoms whilst he was on the fight so it's possible he wasn't contagious but there's a lot we don't know about this virus at this point," she said.

The man had been staying with family and had not been out and about so the risk to the broader community was minimised, she added.



The newly-identified coronavirus has created alarm because there are still many unknowns surrounding it, such as how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. It can cause pneumonia, which has been deadly in some cases.

Symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing and coughing. Most of the fatalities have been in elderly patients, many with pre-existing conditions, the WHO said.

Airports around the world have stepped up screening of passengers from China, though some health officials and experts have questioned the effectiveness of such screenings and of the lockdown.

Health officials fear the transmission rate could accelerate as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during week-long holidays for the Lunar New Year, which began on Saturday.

Five people are undergoing testing for the virus in NSW and two in Queensland.

A number of people have already been cleared in both states.

-with AAP