Western Australia has recorded 14 new cases of COVID-19, including five from the Artania cruise ship, which Health Minister Roger Cook says is further evidence community spread of the virus is being limited.
- Of the 14 new COVID-19 cases in WA, all but one are from cruise ships or overseas travel
- Five are from the Artania cruise ship, which remains docked at Fremantle
- The new cases are aged between 26 and 84
The state has now recorded 436 coronavirus cases, mostly in the Perth metropolitan area.
In addition to the five new cases from the Artania, another four of today’s cases are from cruise ships. Four are connected to overseas travel and one is still being investigated.
One of the infected people is in the Kimberley region, where the Government is trying to contain a cluster of cases, and has sent extra medical teams.
The Artania has now begun a 14-day lockdown period to try to prevent any further infections on the ship.
Health Minister Roger Cook says one of the two new regional cases is in the Kimberley. (ABC News: James Carmody)
“We want to simply have them quarantined to their quarters, isolating from each other … until we can be satisfied there are no further outbreaks on board the ship,” Mr Cook said.
Australian Border Force is in charge of the ship, but Mr Cook says it should leave as soon as the quarantine period is over.
Twenty six crew members were yesterday transferred from the ship to a city hotel.
Four of those have since been taken to hospital.
On Thursday, WA expanded its testing. In the last day 714 people presented at COVID clinics and 455 of those were swabbed.
Mr Cook said it was great to see that with larger numbers of people being tested there was still a “very low” number of positive cases.
“It’s really pleasing to see we only have actually nine West Australian-based cases,” he said.
“This is what we expected. We believe we are on top of any community spread but it’s great to see extra evidence to support that.”
The 14 new cases announced today involve people aged between 26 and 84, with three of them in hospital.
Who should present to COVID-19 clinics?
- People who have BOTH a fever and acute respiratory infection (eg shortness of breath, cough, sore throat)
- High-risk workers (including healthcare workers and police officers) with EITHER a fever OR acute respiratory infection
- People who have attended high-risk settings where two or more have contracted symptoms
- These settings include: cruise ships, aged care centres, Aboriginal communities, correctional facilities and boarding schools
Patients who are tested should remain isolated at home until they receive their test results.
Major clinics have been set up at hospitals including Royal Perth, Sir Charles Gairdner, Fiona Stanley, Joondalup, Armadale, Rockingham and St John of God Midland.
They are open from 8:00am–8:00pm daily.
In regional WA, a clinic is operating at Bunbury Health Campus from 10:00am–4:00pm daily.
For more information go to the Health Department website.
That brings the total number of COVID-19 patients in hospital to 59, with 18 in intensive care units.
Overall, 16,815 people have tested negative in WA, including 2,409 from non-metropolitan areas.
Ninety two people in the state have recovered from coronavirus, meaning there are 340 current active cases.
“This is a very pleasing result,” Mr Cook said.
“I’d like to thank everyone in the West Australian community for observing good social distancing.
“It shows what we can achieve if we work together. We can get through this.”
WA Chief Health Officer Andrew Robertson said there was currently no evidence of community spread of the virus.
He said the curve was flattening and moving to the right, which meant it might be longer before there were a significant number of cases, allowing the health system to better manage.
Seaside town could be locked down ahead of Easter
Meanwhile, Premier Mark McGowan said the WA Government was looking at locking down Esperance on the state’s south coast ahead of the Easter holidays.
Only essential travel has been allowed between WA’s regions since Tuesday, but Esperance is part of the region that includes Kalgoorlie-Boulder and there are concerns about an influx of Goldfields residents travelling south for a beach holiday.
Mr McGowan said the Police Commissioner was expected to make an announcement on extra travel restrictions to Esperance soon.
“I know that’s hard and Kalgoorlie people love going to Esperance — it’s a long-standing thing — but making sure we separate and stop people from travelling is very important,” he said.
Mr McGowan also the Government remained very concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on the Kimberley region.
He said the cluster of cases in the region was linked to a group of people who returned from cruises and overseas holidays without knowing they were infected.
He said those people had since been tested and isolated.
“We’re sending teams of clinicians and health teams and additional police to the Kimberley and we’ve also put in some of the toughest restrictions actually in the history of Australia to stop people moving around the Kimberley so we can keep people as safe as possible,” Mr McGowan said.
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