01/04/2020 - 15:43

COVID-19 daily wrap: Testing criteria in WA to expand

01/04/2020 - 15:43


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Health Minister Roger Cook said testing criteria for COVID-19 would expand as of tomorrow, 28 new cases in WA overnight; Premier Mark McGowan aired his grievances with the Artania cruise ship, and Andrew Forrest pledged $160 million towards procuring medical supplies and increasing testing in WA.

Roger Cook says there is no evidence of sustained community spread of COVID-19, despite eight cases of the virus in WA having come from unknown sources. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira
  • Health Minister Roger Cook has confirmed 28 new cases of COVID-19 overnight, bringing Western Australia’s total confirmed cases to 392.
  • There are now 4,832 cases of COVID-19 nationally, with 21 deaths recorded as of this afternoon.
  • Testing criteria for COVID-19 will expand as of tomorrow, with anyone with a fever or an acute respiratory infection eligible to be tested for the virus. Despite relaxing testing guidelines, Mr Cook insisted this morning that there is no evidence of community spread, despite eight of all cases in WA having no clear linkage to international travel or extensive contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient.
  • The state government has provided a map showing rough locations for where COVID-19 patients are in the community. It does not disclose the names or specific locations of those individuals, as that information remains under doctor-patient confidentiality. A map of confirmed cases by local government area can be accessed here.
  • Premier Mark McGowan aired his frustrations with the Artania this morning, saying the cruise ship needed to leave WA waters as soon as possible. He declined to rule out inviting federal intervention to remove the ship from Fremantle dock, saying its presence in Australian waters could invite more cruise ships to dock in the state. Attorney General Christian Porter today said 12 passengers remained on the ship as they were too sick to fly home.
  • Andrew Forrest has pledged up to $160 million through The Minderoo Foundation to procure essential medical supplies from China as well as increase testing for COVID-19 in WA. Mr Forrest told media this morning that those supplies, which include face masks, thermometers and ventilators, would arrive from Shanghai this week. Mr Cook said the state government would reimburse the cost of equipment procured by the foundation (Full Story).
  • A $9 million relief package for the on-demand transport industry passed the lower house today, with a series of measures including $4.7 million in regional taxi assistance payments, now a step closer to providing financial relief to the industry. If the bill clears the upper house, payments to affected drivers are expected to be made in July.
  • The City of Perth has approved a 12-month, $18 million package for businesses, ratepayers and residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chair commissioner Andrew Hammond said the plan would form part of a long-term stimulation package for the CBD, with capital works and maintenance, a freeze on rate increases and the waiving of other fees to be implemented in the short term.
  • Nicole Lockwood will lead the newly formed WA Supply Chain COVID Response Group, a collaboration between Western Roads Federation, Northern Territory Road Transport Association and the Freight Logistics Council of WA. Ms Lockwood, who chairs FLCWA, said the group would help any freight company affected by COVID-19, as well as working to ensure all freight and delivery drivers are subject to a high standard of hygiene.
  • Master Builders Western Australia has welcomed an announcement from the state government that the construction industry will continue to operate despite the COVID-19 pandemic, calling it the declaration of support the industry had been seeking. Executive director John Gelavis said that as one of the state’s largest employers, it was essential the construction industry continue operating through the crisis.
  • The US now has around 190,000 cases of COVID-19, leading the world in infections. Italy, which has now recorded more than 100,000 cases, is the second worst affected globally.


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