19 February 2020

Chief Health Officer statement COVID-19 update #5

I would like to reassure the community that there are still currently no cases of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) in Western Australia. As of right now, 160 people have been tested and cleared.

The Department of Health continues to work with the Australian Government (including the Departments of Health; Foreign Affairs and Trade; Home Affairs) to ensure that our borders are protected and that we are providing the most relevant advice to both clinicians and the community.

In recent days, the WA Department of Health issued a revised alert to clinicians advising they should now also consider testing people with COVID-19 clinically compatible illness who have returned from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms.

This measure is an additional precaution only, and one that is being implemented across all Australian states and territories. These countries have been identified due to the high travel volumes between these locations and Australia and the changing risk of COVID-19 in our region.

As this situation continues to evolve, it is likely that the case definition (countries visited) will continue to change. It may change often and is being reviewed regularly. However, people should not be alarmed.

Western Australia has one of the best health systems in the world, and manages and treats communicable diseases every day such as influenza, measles, pertussis and meningococcal infection.

The system is prepared for a range of scenarios and members of the public should be reassured that effective and appropriate infectious disease control processes are in place – should a case be confirmed in the future.

Visit the Department of Health’s website www.health.wa.gov.au/coronavirus  for the most current information on COVID-19 or call the national hotline on 1800 020 080.

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