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Roger Cook says Western Australia cannot afford to be complacent. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

COVID-19 daily wrap: two additional deaths, 10 new cases

  • Western Australia has recorded two new deaths as a result of the coronavirus, bringing the state’s death toll to six. One was a male in his 70s who had boarded the Artania cruise ship and one was a female, also in her 70s, who was an overseas traveller returning to WA.
  • There were 10 new infections overnight, ranging from 46 to 84 years old, Health Minister Roger Cook announced this afternoon.
  • Four of the new cases were from cruise ships, three were from overseas travel, one was from close contact, and two are currently under investigation.
  • Nine of the new cases came from the Perth metropolitan region and one, a health care worker, from the Kimberley. Mr Cook confirmed the new case was a contact of the first.
  • The two infected health care workers are currently in self-isolation at Halls Creek.
  • There are 54 COVID-19 patients being treated at Perth public hospitals – 15 of which are in intensive care.
  • WA’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases now stands at 470.
  • Thirty-six per cent of the state’s coronavirus cases are linked to cruise ships – 56 are from the Artania vessel and 50 from the Ruby Princess.
  • Mr Cook said 170 people have recovered from the virus.
  • “While our numbers are good at the moment, we cannot afford to be complacent, I cannot stress this enough,” the health minister said. “A small number can very rapidly become a huge number of cases.”
  • Australia recorded 5,844 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 44 deaths, at 1:30pm AEST.
  • Strict social distancing measures have helped Australia prevent a worst-case virus scenario, according to Doherty Institute modelling provided to the government.
  • The modelling showed that if no action had been taken to stop the spread of the virus, Australia’s intensive care units could have become overwhelmed by up to 35,000 patients.
  • Landlords will be forced to reduce commercial rents by the same proportion that the tenant’s revenue has fallen due to COVID-19, under a new mandatory code of conduct announced by the federal government this morning.
  • The federal government will also waive rents for all of its SMEs and not-for-profit tenants within its owned and leased property across Australia. The initiative is expected to cost $7.6 million over a six-month period.
  • The policy applies to cafes and restaurants, childcare operators, retail and local service providers, community organisations and educational institutions.
  • The Department of Defence will also waive operational charges to the aviation industry.
  • The rent relief will continue until the government lifts restrictions currently in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.  
  • The federal government’s $130 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme is expected to pass parliament tomorrow. Businesses that take a financial hit due to COVID-19 will be eligible for $1,500 in fortnightly payments, to be passed on to workers.
  • Casual Australian workers not covered under the scheme will be able to access JobSeeker’s $1,100 per fortnight allowance and other welfare benefits.
  • Local government councils, which aren’t eligible for the JobKeeper scheme, could shed as many as 45,000 employees in the coming months. The prime minister said last week support for councils would be provided by their state and territory governments.
  • More than 200 Western Australians have been stood down at Mandurah and Geraldton regional councils.
  • Tourism Council WA says it is receiving concerns from the state’s tourism operators that they will not be eligible for the JobKeeper payment.
  • Consulting firm PwC is reducing hours, salaries and bonus payments across its 8,000-person workforce in the wake of the virus pandemic. Most staff will transition to a four-day working week while partner annual income will decline by between 30 and 40 per cent next month.
  • It follows an announcement by KPMG last week, with the firm saying it would also reduce its staff headcount and slash salaries.
  • The Reserve Bank has held the cash rate at a record-low 0.25 per cent.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has moved into intensive care at a central London hospital after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.

Total staff

1st-Department of Education40,113
2nd-Department of Health35,622
3rd-WA Police Force8,933
4th↑Department of Communities5,523
5th↓Department of Justice6,035
45 state government departments ranked by total staff in WA