Professor Senanayake, an infectious disease specialist, said MERS-CoV posed a similar threat to Ebola.
“We went to a lot of trouble planning for Ebola, which was very sensible, but potentially the risk of getting MERS in Australia is even higher,” he said.
Michael Richards, the director of infectious diseases at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, said the hospital had discussed how a person presenting at its emergency department with a possible case of MERS-CoV could be treated in a manner which minimised the risk to staff and other patients.
Professor Richards, who also works at Epworth Hospital, said a person with the virus could spread it to others within four to six feet of them through coughing.
He said this meant procedures such as intubation of patients would have to be done in negative pressure areas to prevent the air being recirculated and infecting other people.