A woman suspected of being infected by the coronavirus fled her isolation ward in Austria, prompting a major police hunt.

On Tuesday the woman voluntarily came to Salzburg University Medical Center close to the German border.

However, the 31-year-old disappeared from her room overnight.

A huge search operation was sparked which led police to find her at her home.

The woman had traveled from Taiwan to New Zealand on January 7, before heading back to Austria on January 26.

The woman fled from the Austrian hospital
The woman fled from the Austrian hospital

She had experienced respiratory problems on the flight back, prompting her to call the country's health advice hotline. 

An ambulance specially equipped to handle infections was sent to the woman who was taken to the University Hospital.

Before she fled a throat swab had already been taken from the her which will now be processed as a priority.

It has been sent to a laboratory in Vienna for testing, Die Presse reported.

The woman was suspected of being infected with coronavirus
The woman was suspected of being infected with coronavirus

The patient's bed was found empty at around 3am when a nurse went to check on her.

The police, the state medical directorate and the city's health department were all informed.

There have been multiple suspected coronavirus cases in Austria, Vindobona reported.

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Coronavirus outbreak

At the end of January a couple from Salzburg were placed in isolation after returning from Shanghai with breathing difficulties.

In Vienna 500 beds have been earmarked for people with the disease, with a further 200 available in private hospitals if required.