24/03/2020 - 15:53

COVID-19 daily wrap: WA to ban regional travel

24/03/2020 - 15:53


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Mark McGowan says regional WA travel restrictions will soon be announced, foreshadows beach closures. Optus Stadium converted to emergency headquarters for WA police. WA's confirmed COVID-19 cases grew by 35 to 175.

COVID-19 daily wrap: WA to ban regional travel
Mark McGowan says beaches will be closed if people don't adhere to social distancing rules.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said travel restrictions to and from Western Australia’s nine regions would soon be announced in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. The premier said interstate travel must be avoided.

Mr McGowan also announced Optus Stadium has been converted into an emergency headquarters for WA Police, where they will base their operational response.

The premier said beaches, including Scarborough and Cottesloe, would soon be closed if people did not adhere to social distancing rules.

"I don’t want to be doing this but if we have to protect people from themselves on our beaches, we will," he said.

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said police patrols at beaches had already started, with officers told to prevent the formation of large groups as the weather heated up. 

The announcements come as WA’s confirmed COVID-19 cases grew by 35 to 175, as at 3pm AEDT. Eleven coronavirus patients are currently in hospital. Mr McGowan has urged visitors not to attempt to travel to WA.

The new infections include five confirmed cases in regional WA, including in the Kimberley and Mid West regions. The new cases range in age from four years to 75 years, including two children (aged four and 10) from the same family. Eight new infections came from the Ruby Princess cruise ship, which docked in Sydney on Thursday.

Health Minister Roger Cook announced an expanded coronavirus testing regime in WA would include testing of all disembarked cruise ship passengers.

One person has died from coronavirus in WA. There have been eight coronavirus-related deaths in Australia, with the latest being a 70-year-old woman. She was one of 133 patients evacuated from the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australia has tested more tests per capita than South Korea, at 557 per 100,000.

The nation’s confirmed COVID-19 cases grew by 427 to 2,136 cases, as at 3pm AEDT. More than 160,000 tests have been conducted across Australia.

One and a half million masks have arrived in Australia in recent days, while 30 million more are due in the next two weeks. There are plans under way to double the number of ventilators in the country from 2,000 to 4,000, while work is being done to build another 5,000 units locally. Australia will have a whole-of-population telehealth capacity by the end of the month.

The World Health Organisation says nearly every country is reporting COVID-19 infections. There are currently more than 374,000 confirmed cases. There have been more than 16,500 deaths worldwide.

Italy is still the worst-affected nation by the virus, with 602 new deaths, totalling 6,077. There are nearly 64,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.

Perth Zoo will temporarily close - a first for the zoo in almost 122 years. The zoo said the closure was a precautionary measure.


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