20/04/2020 - 15:26

COVID-19 daily wrap: zero new cases in WA

20/04/2020 - 15:26

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Western Australia's coronavirus cases remain static at 545, a first for the state since February 21. Temporary restrictions on takeaway alcohol sales have been lifted. National cabinet to consider resumption of elective surgery tomorrow.

Mark McGowan says the results are outstanding for WA but warns against complacency. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira
  • Western Australia has recorded zero new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, a first for the state in 59 days. WA’s total COVID-19 cases remain at 545.
  • Premier Mark McGowan said it was an “outstanding result” for WA, but warned against complacency. “These are encouraging numbers especially considering where we were a few weeks ago,” he said. “WA has done an incredible job but we can’t let it go to waste now. We need everyone to stay the course.”
  • “I know it’s easy to think that we’ve succeeded and we can just get back to normal, but we need to continue to be very cautious. We cannot get complacent.”
  • Mr McGowan said the state’s hard border closure and regional travel restrictions were effective among measures taken to limit the spread of the virus. “These have all played a major role in our success in minimising the spread and the impact of COVID-19,” he said.
  • The state government is prepared to assess if and when some restrictions can be eased over the coming weeks. “Any adjustments will be based on the best of health advice and will be considered in detail,” Mr McGowan said.
  • Mr McGowan said the main risk was people arriving in WA by air. There were 176 arrivals in WA in the past 24 hours by international or domestic flights. Seventy-two people were exempt and 82 people were placed into quarantine for the next two weeks. “It’s important to note that while we have very little evidence of community transmission in WA, our biggest threat continues to be these kind of arrivals from overseas or over east,” Mr McGowan said.
  • The results follow only two COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend, comprising one new case on Saturday from an overseas traveller and one case on Sunday, who was a close contact of a confirmed case in the Goldfields region. Both cases are self-isolating as required, Mr McGowan said.
  • There have been 435 recoveries in the WA, up from 426 yesterday. The state has recorded seven deaths.
  • Health Minister Roger Cook said there were 26 COVID-19 patients in Perth metropolitan hospitals, of which six are in intensive care.
  • The state’s temporary restrictions on takeaway alcohol have now been lifted. The restrictions were put in place in March to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) in WA welcomed the announcement. "We commend the state government for removing the restrictions and also acknowledge WA consumers have behaved responsibly," AHA(WA) chief executive Bradley Woods said.
  • Shadow Minister for Small Business Alyssa Hayden also welcomed the announcement. "While these restrictions were well-intentioned, they had a disastrous impact on our local wineries, cider houses, distilleries, and micro-breweries, because they prevented them from being able to sell their product at the standard quantities, while allowing eastern states suppliers to sell directly into the WA market unrestricted," she said.
  • Australia has reported 26 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the nation’s total to 6,619.
  • There have been 71 deaths and 4,258 recoveries in the country. More than 431,000 tests have been conducted.
  • The resumption of elective surgery is likely to resume soon, with National Cabinet scheduled to discuss the issue tomorrow. WA's Department of Health and its Victorian counterpart prepared a paper on the resumption of category two elective surgery, which will be presented to that meeting tomorrow.
  • Australia’s deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth said the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee would also be making recommendations to National Cabinet. It had continued to assess detailed principles that will underlie a “cautious and safe” reintroduction of elective surgery into Australia. Patient and staff safety were at the core of their considerations.
  • “This is not something we are going to sit on for many weeks,” he added. “We recognise there are Australians in pain, who have a disability, are unable to work, or need to take potent pain medication who need surgery.” Mr Coatsworth said there would be a focus on low risk, high benefit procedures.
  • The state government said on Sunday the number of ventilated beds in WA would be increased from 111 currently to more than 600. Ten additional ventilated beds have been brought online since March. The strategy includes the purchase and delivery of an additional 301 ventilators, the first of which are due to arrive in April. Work is currently being undertaken to train and deploy a multidisciplinary workforce to support each ventilated bed. 
  • A SportsWest survey has found local sporting associations are expected to lose up to $41 million in revenue and shed 660 jobs by the start of May. The survey showed organisations were expecting a 55 per cent reduction in full time employees and a 72 per cent reduction in casuals. Seven sports associations are expecting losses of more than $1 million, while 20 forecast losses of more than $100,000.

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