United call for calm

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on March 19, 2020

A CALL for calm has been echoed by all levels of government this week along with a reminder to only rely upon official sources for the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the Weekender went to print yesterday (Wednesday), there were zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Albany, the Great Southern and regional WA.

The Department of Health confirmed WA now has 35 cases of COVID-19 but all were located in the Perth metropolitan area.

The Department said all WA cases notified so far had been associated with overseas travel and that currently, Australia does not have widespread community transmission of the virus.

Member for Albany Peter Watson said the State Government was taking the pandemic very seriously and was well prepared.

“We do not need to be panic buying basic household goods. We need to be looking after elder family members, friends and neighbours,” he said.

Mayor Dennis Wellington said the City of Albany had mobilised a response team to make decisions regarding the City’s services, facilities and events.

He said the City was preparing to maintain essential services as part of its emergency management planning.

WA is now in a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency.

Penalties of up to $50,000 will apply to those who do not self-isolate for 14 days after entering Australia from overseas from Monday, March 17 at 9pm.

International travel restrictions are now at the highest possible ranking – Level 4 – which means all overseas travel is now completely advised against.

Non-essential indoor gatherings of 100-plus people have been banned as of yesterday but this does not apply to public transport facilities, medical and healthcare facilities, pharmacies, emergency service facilities, correctional facilities, youth justice centres or other places of custody, courts or tribunals, parliaments, food markets, supermarkets and grocery stores, shopping centres, office buildings, factories, construction and mining sites, where it is necessary for their normal operation.

Schools will remain open until the National Cabinet is advised otherwise by the Chief Health Officer.

School hygiene practices have been elevated and parents are reminded to keep their children at home if they are sick.

Southern Ports CEO Steve Lewis said international cruise ships were now banned from docking in Australia for at least 30 days.

All cargo ship crew arriving in Albany, Bunbury or Esperance are required to adhere to a 14-day on-board isolation period from the day they leave their international departure port.

Aged care facility residents will now only be able to receive one visit per day, with a maximum of two people visiting in that singular visit.

Please note this is a developing story.

The latest on the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at www.health.gov.au or by calling the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

See pages 4 and 5 for more information.


Image: Courtesy health.gov.au/