26/03/2020 - 16:03

COVID-19 daily wrap: 26 new cases in WA

26/03/2020 - 16:03

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Roger Cook has confirmed 231 COVID-19 cases in WA. The state government will fund $3 million to coronavirus-related research. There will be easier access to some prescription medicines. New maternity hospital will be deferred.

Roger Cook says 55 COVID-19 cases in WA are related to cruise ships. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira
  • Health Minister Roger Cook has confirmed 26 new cases of COVID-19 in Western Australia, bringing the state’s total to 231. There have been two deaths in the state, including a 70-year-old male cruise ship passenger who died today.
  • Of the new cases, 17 are males and 9 are females, ranging from the ages of seven to 81 years. Mr Cook says the new cases only include one child, who is “comfortable” and self-isolating at home.
  • Two COVID-19 cases are listed on the Department of Health’s daily snapshot as an “unknown source”. Mr Cook said, in this instance, the unknown sources were “close contacts with overseas travellers”. Mr Cook said it was possible the overseas travellers had recovered from coronavirus before they were tested.
  • He said WA had the lowest number of cases that were still under contract tracing activities.
  • Mr Cook reiterated 25 per cent of confirmed COVID-19 cases in WA were linked to cruise ships.
  • He said from today’s new cases, four were passengers from cruise ships. One passenger was from the Ruby Princess, one from the Sun Princess and two from the Voyager of the Seas.
  • Mr Cook said WA now has 51 coronavirus cases directly from cruise ship passengers.
  • He said four positive COVID-19 cases in WA have been directly related to close contact with a cruise ship passenger.
  • “Fifty five cases are now related to cruise ships and there could be, and probably will be, more,” Mr Cook said. “This emphasises the major problem that cruise ships have represented in terms of making sure that we manage the spread of COVID-19.”
  • Seven passengers aboard the Artania cruise ship, currently anchored off Fremantle, have confirmed positive to COVID-19.
  • Mr Cook said a man in his 70s had been transferred off the ship. “He had a life threatening condition and his illness, however, is unrelated to COVID-19. He is not one of the seven passengers who tested positive for coronavirus.”
  • The state government also announced new regulations to ensure easier access to some prescription medicines. “It applies to patients already under treatment with a medicine where their prescriptions have run out and it is not possible for them to get to a doctor to obtain a new prescription,” Mr Cook said. “Under these circumstances, if a pharmacist is satisfied that treatment is urgently needed, they may dispense a standard one-month quantity of the medicines”.
  • The state government has struck a deal with BHP to release $230 million that was allocated towards the construction of a new women's and maternity hospital, as part of a royalties settlement reached last year. This funding will now go towards the State’s COVID-19 response. The government said it remained committed to the new hospital in the longer term.
  • Legislation will be introduced to Parliament next week to increase the Treasurer’s Advance limit by $1 billion, taking the total to $1.7 billion. This will give the state government immediate capacity to fund further economic stimulus measures.
  • The state government has put several programs on hold indefinitely, incuding its Public Sector Reform Program; Our Priorities: Sharing Prosperity; Strategic Assessment of the Perth and Peel Regions; and the Supporting Communities Forum, while Infrastructure Western Australia will scale back work on preparing the State’s 20-year infrastructure plan.
  • It will make $3 million immediately available to funding institutes and researchers to support COVID-19 related research.
  • Public housing and community housing tenants are being advised state or federal one-off payments or increases to statutory payments in response to COVID-19 will not be included in eligibility assessments for social housing.
  • Australia’s confirmed COVID-19 cases grew by 376 to 2,799 infections, as at 3pm today. There have been 13 deaths in country.
  • NSW remains the worst affected state, with 1,219 confirmed cases.
  • Italy remains the worst affected nation by the virus, with more than 74,000 cases and over 7,500 deaths.

More to come...

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