01 March 2020

WA confirms first novel Coronavirus death

The Department of Health has reported Australia’s first Coronavirus (COVID-19) death.

Western Australia’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Andrew Robertson, confirmed today that a 78-year-old man died in Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in the early hours of the morning from COVID-19-related complications.

Dr Robertson extended his condolences to the family and said hospital staff were doing all they could to support the family through this difficult time.

Dr Robertson reminded Western Australians that there had still been no local transmission of COVID-19 and that the Department was working around the clock to minimise the risk of community spread.

It was continuing to investigate and monitor cases and ensure adherence to strict infection-control measures.

The man was the first returning Western Australian resident to contract the disease and had been receiving treatment in isolation at Sir Charles Gairdner hospital since being airlifted to Perth from Darwin in the Northern Territory on February 21.  He tested positive to the disease after arriving in Darwin following evacuation from the Diamond Princess cruise ship the previous day.

The man’s 79-year old wife was also flown to Perth so she could be with her husband.

On Friday, she tested positive for the virus, becoming Western Australia’s second imported case of COVID-19. She is currently in a stable condition in isolation at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Dr Robertson said that although the international outbreak of COVID-19 was an evolving situation, Western Australians could be assured that extensive preparations were underway behind the scenes that would help WA respond should the disease become more widespread.

WA has so far tested 594 people for COVID-19, all of whom have tested negative to the disease.


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