31/03/2020 - 16:00

COVID-19 daily wrap: new virus testing laws

31/03/2020 - 16:00

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The state government has announced new deregulated COVID-19 testing laws and a $1 billion economic health system stimulus package, while Health Minister Roger Cook revealed nine new coronavirus cases.

Roger Cook says the state government has ordered $15 million worth of clinical equipment.

The state government has announced new deregulated COVID-19 testing laws for doctors to trial new and emerging treatments. The new laws enable Western Australians to participate in the medical research.

*Australian Medical Association president Andrew Miller said the new legislation meant doctors could offer treatment beyond supportive care to patients with COVID-19 who are unconscious and cannot make decisions for themselves.

*The announcement comes a day after the state government broadened WA’s coronavirus testing regime.

*Premier Mark McGowan today announced a $1 billion economic and health system stimulus package. Mr McGowan says $500 million will be allocated to boost health and other frontline service delivery areas.

*Health Minister Roger Cook has revealed nine new COVID-19 cases in WA, including a seven-year-old-child, bringing the state’s total to 364.

*There are currently 54 people battling the virus in Western Australian hospitals. Mr Cook told reporters the state government had ordered $15 million worth of clinical equipment. This includes 301 ventilators, 201 humidifiers and 200 intensive care unit beds.

*Mr Cook also revealed seven people who were aboard the Artania cruise ship and tested positive to COVID-19 are now in intensive care. Four cases are being treated at Fiona Stanley Hospital and three at Joondalup Health Care Campus.

*The state’s total infected patients in intensive care have reached 12. This also includes two Ruby Princess cruise ship cases. The Artania cruise ship is scheduled to depart Fremantle on Wednesday. Almost 500 crew remain on board. Around 200 passengers who were aboard the Vasco da Gama liner are in quarantine on Rottnest Island. Hundreds of other Australians are quarantining at a hotel in Perth’s CBD.  

*About 20 people experiencing homelessness are being moved in to Perth’s Pan Pacific hotel as part of a “Hotels with Heart” pilot, to reduce the health risks for people experiencing homelessness.

*Public transport in Perth will be scaled back for three weeks, beginning April 6. Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said COVID-19 had impacted patronage across the network. She said a reduction in services would minimise empty buses and trains running.

*Legal Aid WA has increased the number of appointments available in areas of high need, such as employment law, mortgage hardship, consumer protection and financial hardship. "The current global health crisis and subsequent economic challenges have given rise to new legal problems for many Western Australians,” Attorney General John Quigley said.

*Master Builders has urged local councils to match the City of Stirling’s efforts to ease the pressure on businesses impacted by the virus. The city’s measures included releasing $1,000 from existing verge bonds, waiving verge permit fees and reducing new verge bonds by up to $1,000 for new verge permits for six months.

*A group of Pilbara Aboriginal leaders have helped establish an emergency response working group, Yamatji Marlpa announced. The group, called RECOV19ER, includes a large number of indigenous organisations and government agencies. Its current priorities include communicating clear and direct messaging to the Pilbara Aboriginal community, as well as securing essential supplies.

*Western Australia’s container deposit scheme Containers for Change launch date has been deferred because of COVID-19. Originally planned to launch on June 2, the state government has decided to postpone the scheme to protect the health of scheme workers and the community. The state government will review the situation in August to determine whether the scheme will launch in November 2020 or June 2021.

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