22/04/2020 - 15:29

COVID-19 daily wrap: WA marks second day of zero new cases

22/04/2020 - 15:29

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Western Australia marked its second day without any new COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Roger Cook said around a quarter of all deferred elective surgery may resume as of next week, and the federal government announced its intentions to stockpile $100 million of fuel.

Roger Cook says around a quarter of all deferred elective surgeries may recommence as of Tuesday next week. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira
  • Western Australia has recorded no new cases and eight recoveries from COVID-19 overnight, the second time in three days that WA has recorded no cases. There are now just 88 known active cases of the virus in the state.
  • Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly today confirmed only four new cases of the virus nationally, with several states, including WA, reporting no new cases in the past 24 hours. Despite the apparent success, deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth has said the government is committed to a suppression, not eradication, strategy in combatting COVID-19.
  • Health Minister Roger Cook has said there will be a staged recommencement of elective surgery from Tuesday onwards, following consultation with the National Cabinet and confirmation of sufficient PPE in the state’s hospitals. Mr Cook said around a quarter of patients whose surgery had been deferred will be contacted directly by hospitals in the coming days to let them know a new date for their procedures. That process will be reviewed in three weeks’ time to ensure it is not conflicting with the state’s ability to battle COVID-19.
  • Mr McGowan expressed disappointment that many of the state’s private schools would not run face-to-face lessons for students in pre-K through year 10, with students set to return to school in a weeks’ time. He said there was low risk of transferring COVID-19 in school environments, and that the advice to open schools again was that of the medical community, not the government.
  • Discussions have today continued over whether the AFL should temporarily relocate to WA in the coming months, as the Premier said he would strongly consider such a move if it proved medically feasible to do so. The league, which has yet to set a date for its recommencement, will announce further details on its future as early as next week.
  • The federal government will reportedly purchase $100 million of fuel, taking advantage of plummeting oil prices to increase Australia’s national stockpile. Energy Minister Angus Taylor said it made sense for the country to increase reserves but admitted that storing the fuel itself would prove a challenge.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he spoke with US President Donald Trump this afternoon about the need to balance a recommencement of economic activity with public health responses. Mr Trump has frequently questioned the need for lockdowns and has allowed several states to ease social distancing and isolation restrictions in recent days. The US is currently the global epicentre for COVID-19, with more than 820,000 infected and more than 45,000 dead from the virus.
  • Virgin Australia has had its credit rating downgraded by S&P Global, following news earlier this week that the airline would go into administration. Despite expecting that unsecured debt providers would need to accept less value than owed as part of the restructuring process, the agency said it expected the airline to survive the recapitalisation process. (Read more).
  • Retail figures surged by 8.2 per cent in March, as consumers rushed to stockpile groceries and other essential goods during COVID-19 lockdowns. Those figures are expected to unwind in April, as panic buying recedes significantly (Read more).
  • Ramsay Health Care is seeking to raise $1.4 billion to boost its balance sheet, as company struggles with cancelled and deferred elective surgery. The company will issue around 21.4 million shares at $56 each (Read more).
  • A senior doctor from onboard the Ruby Princess cruise ship has testified today in a public inquiry, saying passengers showed signs of COVID-19 while onboard and that she would not have allowed them to disembark. That revelation comes less than a month after the ship was allowed to dock in Sydney Harbor.
  • The US state of Missouri has filed a lawsuit against China, claiming personhood and financial damages related to COVID-19. It’s debatable whether the suit will be enforceable, as under US law, states and individuals cannot sue other countries.

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