Another 28 people in Western Australia are confirmed to have tested positive to coronavirus, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 392.
It comes as mining magnate Andrew Forrest announced his Minderoo Foundation is committing $160 million to fly specialist medical supplies into WA from China.
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Of the 28 new cases confirmed in WA overnight, the youngest is a four-year-old child and the oldest is 69.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Roger Cook said 19 patients were in metropolitan hospitals, 14 of whom were in intensive care.
Of the new cases, 19 are from metropolitan Perth and nine from regional WA.
Seven have recently returned from overseas, nine are healthcare workers and three are from cruise ships.
Cook said the jump from nine new cases on Tuesday to 28 cases on Wednesday meant WA was not out of the woods in terms of curbing the spread of the virus.
Andrew Forrest donation
Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest announced his Minderoo Foundation would pledge $160 million to bring essential medical equipment and supplies into WA from China.
Special charter flights will arrive on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
They will bring more than one million face masks, 40,000 surgical masks, 2.3 million medical grade gloves, 100,000 nasal swabs, 200,000 medical coveralls, 10,000 medical goggles, 5000 touch-free thermometers and 30 intensive care ventilators into the state.
The extra provisions mean health authorities will now be able to conduct approximately 10,000 COVID-19 tests per day.
The current average is 400 tests per day.
Anyone with a fever of 38 degrees or above and an acute respiratory infection (sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath) is eligible for COVID-19 testing from Thursday.
West Australians in a high-risk job (healthcare workers, aged care and disability workers, WA Police officers) will only need to meet one of these two conditions to be eligible for testing.
If one or more people who work in high-risk settings experience a fever of 38 degrees or above or an acute respiratory infection, they can also be tested.
High-risk settings include aged and residential care, rural and remote Aboriginal communities, detention centres and correctional facilities, boarding schools, military barracks and returning cruise ship passengers or international travellers.
Artania cruise ship
Meanwhile, the Artania cruise ship wants to remain docked at Fremantle for another 14 days as it tries to determine how many people on board are still affected.
Cook said about 12 passengers still aboard would need to be moved to a hotel for quarantine or hospital depending on their health status.
There are still 450 crew and staff on the ship.
The Australian Border Force wrote to the ship’s management on Sunday requesting it to leave Australian waters as soon as possible.
The West Australian reports the Artania’s master has asked to stay docked at Fremantle until April 15 in order to chemically clean the ship.
On Wednesday, Premier Mark McGowan slammed Vasco da Gama cruise ship passengers after reports emerged that disgruntled people quarantined in Perth hotels were throwing food into the lobby.
“It’s insensitive, ungrateful, inappropriate and frankly pretty disgusting,” he said.
“And I just urge them to act like good Australians and recognise a lot of people are doing it a lot tougher than they are.”
All returned overseas travellers are now required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return.
“This is mostly occurring in hotels, and at Government expense,” Mr McGowan said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We all know there’s a lot of hardship going around at the moment.
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“Countless members of our community have lost their jobs or their businesses and are facing an uncertain future.
“But there have been quite a few reports of complaints from those people who have been forced to quarantine.
“Let me be clear – people are facing much more severe challenges at the moment than having to stay in a hotel.
‘People are facing much more severe challenges at the moment than having to stay in a hotel.’
“I know it is inconvenient, and it’s not meant to be an extra vacation, but by staying there you are helping us make sure that the virus doesn’t continue to be brought back into the community.
“We’re all having to make sacrifices in these tough times, staying in a hotel for a couple of weeks is a small price to pay.”
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