The government has ramped up its response to the coronavirus, with federal, state and territory health ministers meeting on Friday to discuss how Australia's hospitals, aged care system and other sectors will react if there is an outbreak of the disease here.
News about the disease is moving fast, with new cases in new countries announced every day.
Here are your questions about coronavirus answered.
What is coronavirus?
The full name for the virus that is claiming lives and causing headaches for governments across the world was originally Novel Coronavirus, meaning a new variant of coronaviruses, which according to the World Health Organisation is a large family of viruses. This one has been given the name COVID-19, which stands for corona virus disease 2019, the year in which it was first detected. For the purpose of this article, we'll use coronavirus.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms are fever, tiredness and a dry cough. The World Health Organisation also says some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. The symptoms generally start mild, and Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says more than 80 per cent of people currently diagnosed have a mild form of the disease.
Where has it spread to?
Coronavirus started in China, where the majority of infections and deaths have been. In recent days its spread has accelarated in other countries, particularly South Korea which has more than 2000 cases. Japan, Italy, and Iran have hundreds of cases, while France, the United States, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong have dozens.
At the time of writing there were more than 84,117 cases worldwide, 78,961 in China. There have been almost 2800 deaths from the disease in China, 17 in Italy, 26 in Iran, 13 in South Korea and two in France and Hong Kong.
The list of countries with just a single case is long, among them is New Zealand, which recorded its first case on Friday.
How many people have it in Australia?
So far in Australia just 25 people have been diagnosed with the disease. Fifteen of those were people who had travelled to Australia from the Chinese province of Hubei, where the virus originated from.
"The 15 cases that have been diagnosed in the general community were all isolated rapidly," Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Friday.
"They were contained individually," he said, explaining how so far the threat has been mitigated in Australia.
All 15 of those people have now been cleared of the disease.
Another nine cases have been identified in the cohort of people who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. These people were already in quarantine in Howard Springs when they were diagnosed, and were then moved to hospitals in their home states on special chartered medivac flights.
The nine people are isolated in hospital, but in a stable condition.
No one has died from virus in Australia, and importantly, there has been no "community transmission" here, meaning that there hasn't been an outbreak inside the borders.
How likely is it that I could get coronavirus?
While the government is planning for more cases to emerge, the message is that Australia is well-prepared to keep the spread of the disease contained. There are plans however for the possibility that a high percentage of the population will contract the disease.
Most cases of coronavirus are mild, but for people who are more vulnerable, like the elderly, or people with pre-existing conditions like heart disease or diabetes, it could be deadly.
What should I do about it?
The key thing is - don't panic. Health officials are telling Australians to go about their lives as they normally would - don't avoid big crowds or events, and don't avoid Chinese restaurants, an unfortunate byproduct of ill-informed anxiety about the disease.
"While we are preparing and we are realistic about what might come in the future weeks, we are not in a situation where anyone needs to be concerned," said Chief Health Office Brendan Murphy on Friday.
"Nobody should go around wearing and wasting face masks please.
"We are not wanting the community to panic but we are obviously being transparent with the community that we think the international situation does mean that it is very likely that we will get some more cases in Australia in coming weeks."
Other advice is the same as that for the common cold and flu - wash hands regularly, cover your mouth when you cough - common sense.
What is the government doing about it?
Even though the World Health Organisation is yet to declare coronavirus a pandemic, the Australian government has already moved to act as if such a declaration had been made.
On Thursday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia was enacting the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
This means a whole lot of plans are being put in place, medical supplies are being stockpiled and restrictions continued on travellers coming from China.
Australian Border Force is readying plans for extra measures at airports and shipping ports to ensure suspected infected travellers can be quarantined quickly.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said his department was not looking at temperature screening at airports, as it was not effective.
However, if officials suspected a passenger of being sick they "have the ability to have a conversation with that person", he said.
Professor Murphy said on Friday authorities were working on scenarios including a slow spread of infection over two or three months, with a small number of people needing hospital treatment for severe pneumonia. Authorities were also preparing for a scenario where the virus became endemic and remained in the community over a long period.
- With AAP