No new cases recorded in Western Australia overnight, Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls for investigation into COVID-19-linked disease, and The Department of Health announces drive-through vaccination clinic for over-65s.
- No new cases of COVID-19 were recorded overnight, and one person has recovered, bringing the state’s total number of active cases to seven. That comes after Australia recorded its 98th death overnight, an 81-year old woman who disembarked from the Ruby Princess cruise ship.
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for an investigation into a new, virus-linked disease in toddlers which has killed at least three children in the US state of New York. The inflammatory disease has been likened to Kawasaki disease, which kills hundreds of children in Australia each year. That comes as chief medical officer Brendan Murphy reportedly raised concerns with his state counterparts that Australians were beginning to disregard social distancing in the run up to a staged reopening of the economy.
- The state government today unveiled two reform packages designed to improve environmental approvals and procurement processes but has not yet finalised plans for bilateral approvals with the federal government. Key initiatives include extra funding for Environment Online, a digital one-stop shop for environmental assessment, approvals and compliance for industry and developers in WA (Read more).
- The state government has also announced millions of dollars in grants for Western Australia’s tourism businesses, ahead of a staged reopening of the state’s regions and businesses in the coming weeks. Those initiatives, announced today, will include $10.4 million in one-off cash grants to be distributed to 1,600 operators in WA, such as accommodation, attraction and transport businesses (Read more).
- The department of health will operate drive-through influenza vaccine clinics for people aged 65 years and over, as the federal government encourages widespread immunisation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The clinic will operate in Crown Perth’s car park in Burswood, operating from 9.30am to 2.30pm, May 19 through May 22. No bookings will be required to receive a vaccination.
- Commonwealth Bank is setting aside $1.5 billion for potential defaults on account of COVID-19-related shutdowns and will sell a majority stake in its Colonial First State wealth management unit. Australia's largest bank reported that cash profit for the third quarter fell 23 per cent to $1.3 billion, down from $1.7 billion a year ago (Read more).
- Albion Capital Partners founder and Fremantle Dockers board member Anthony Grist is urging the state government to allow the AFL teams to move freely between state borders, as the league aim to restart this year’s season in the coming months. Premier Mark McGowan however has repeatedly said he would not budge on those requirements, despite lobbying by other affected industries.
- The total number of COVID-19 cases linked to the Cedar Meats Australia abattoir in Victoria has risen to 99, after six new infections were confirmed overnight. That state has been particularly cautious with relaxing restrictions, as Premier Daniel Andrews has resisted calls to reopen schools and expanding how many people can gather outside at one time. The state has 1,514 recorded cases of the virus.
- Advisor to US President Donald Trump and infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from contained, as several US states have begun re-opening their economies despite mounting infections and deaths. There are now 83,000 people who have died and more than 1.4 million infected from the virus in the US.