Parents are refusing to let their children be treated by Asian doctors amid fears that they will contract coronavirus, say some medics.
Some families at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital have been rejecting health professionals of Asian appearance with many asking if they have been tested for COVID-19.
Staff also reported seeing patients refuse to share waiting rooms with Asian families after wrongfully believing that their ethnicity is linked to the virus.
Patients at Melbourne's Royal Children's hospital have refused treatment from Asian doctors
Families avoided doctors and patients of Asian descent amid coronavirus fears (file image)
He explained that a doctor was told by parents of a child she was treating that they weren't comfortable with her treating their child due to the risk of coronavirus.
Dr Lewena spoke at a press conference on Thursday and said: 'It was clear that message was sent on the basis of her race. We intervened to highlight to that family that wasn't acceptable and we've been supporting that staff member'.
'We want to use this as an opportunity to say that's not acceptable in healthcare and it's certainly not acceptable in our society.'
Dr Lewena said three more staff members also came forward to say they had similar experiences.
He told reporters that 'Paranoia around coronavirus is acceptable, but we need to be sensible and respectful in terms of how we go about dealing with it.'
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos also noted that the racial fears in regards to coronavirus were unnecessary.
'There is no place for this behaviour in our public hospitals, there is no place for this in our broader community,' she said in a statement on Thursday.
Melbourne's Children's Hospital launched an anti-racism warning on Thursday that criticized any abusive behaviour shown amid the coronavirus paranoia.
Doctors around Australia have spoken out about being racially abused by patients.
Gold Coast surgeon Dr Rhea Liang posted a tweet last month that said: 'Today a patient made jokes about not shaking my hand because of coronavirus. In front of my team.
'I have not left Australia. This is not sensible public health precautions. This is racism.'
The Department of Health spoke out against racial abuse fueled by the virus (file image)
Other doctors also reported being asked if coronavirus could be contracted from Chinese food or from sitting next to a person of Asian descent.
Chinese citizens have faced a racist backlash across the world following the outbreak of the deadly virus.
Restaurants in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam have all refused to accept Chinese customers and French Asians began a trending hashtag that said 'JeNeSuisPasUnVirus' ('IAmNotAVirus').
The risk of contracting coronavirus in Victoria is very low with only three people currently infected. They are all in isolation after returning from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA
NEW SOUTH WALES: 4
February 6February 21
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 3
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 1