Virus 'could cost jobs within weeks': Qld

Annastacia Palaszczuk is critical of the federal government's response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Annastacia Palaszczuk is critical of the federal government's response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Jobs could go within weeks without support from the federal government to help businesses survive through coronavirus outbreak, Queensland's premier warns.

The outbreak of the virus has already cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told parliament on Thursday.

She said she cannot fathom why the federal government has rejected her request to activate natural disaster relief funding in response to the outbreak.

She will continue to seek funding, claiming the tourism industry is being bled dry by travel bans.

The Cairns region alone has lost $200 million in forward bookings, and operators on the Gold Coast are estimated to lose up to $400 million, she told parliament.

"Farmers, fishers, tourism operators and universities all told of lost business impacting now," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"There are trawlers unable to fish because the market for coral trout and premium mud crab has evaporated overnight."

She has asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison for disaster relief funding reserved for events like fires and floods.

But it does not cover disease outbreaks and changes to the funding would require a renegotiation between the states and the Commonwealth.

Mr Morrison said he expects to economy to take a hit by coronavirus in coming months.

"How much more it extends beyond that really does depend on how this virus continues to play out at a global level," he said.

Queensland's Economic Functional Recovery Group will meet on Thursday to discuss assistance measures which could range from possible tax and fee relief to storing surplus seafood intended for export markets.

Ms Palaszczuk also wants federal funding to cover the cost of promoting Queensland as a destination to people in Singapore, Japan and the US.

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe has warned coronavirus could cause a sharp slow down in economic growth in China, Australia's biggest trading partner.

Queensland now has four confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Health Minister Steven Miles on Thursday rushed a law through state parliament granting health officers three months to force suspected patients into quarantine or isolation, and undergoing medical checks and tests.

Samples for testing are also being collected by private pathologists across the state.

All of the infected people are from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak, and were travelling together in a tour group.

They remain in isolation at the Gold Coast University Hospital, alongside another five people from the same tour group.

Meanwhile, China's women's soccer team has been released from a Brisbane hotel after almost two weeks in quarantine.

The virus has infected about 25,000 people worldwide, and killed about 500 people, almost all of them in China.

Australia currently has 14 cases: four in NSW, four in Victoria, four in Queensland and two in South Australia.

Australian Associated Press