Coronavirus crisis: WA records second death after man in 70s who was a cruise ship passenger dies

Peter Law and Peter de KruijffThe West Australian
VideoA third cruise ship is about to enter the tense standoff, on the WA Coast.

WA has recorded its second death from COVID-19 after a man aged in his 70s who had travelled aboard the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship died on Thursday at Joondalup Health Campus.

The Celebrity Solstice docked in Sydney on March 20 and was one of several cruise ships that has helped spread the virus across Australia. WA alone has 55 cases linked to liners.

Australia’s death toll stands at 13, with more than 2800 Australians testing positive to the coronavirus.

Perth tourism pioneer James Kwan was the first Australian to be killed by the disease after he contracted the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan.

The number of cases in WA increased by 26 to 231 on Thursday. Of the new cases, four were from cruise ships, including the Ruby Princess, Sun Princess and Voyager of the Seas.

Health Minister Roger Cook said as of Wednesday night, all of WA’s cases had been connected in some way to overseas travel.

“Fifty per cent of those people were people who returned to Western Australia on flights, 25 per cent are cruise ship passengers and 25 per cent are close contacts with either those cruise ship passengers or people who have returned from flights,” he said.

Mr Cook said WA had the smallest percentage of cases across Australia that were still being contact traced to determine how virus was contracted.

“We do not have any unknown cases, which, as you can see other jurisdictions are currently struggling with,” he said.

“We understand where the problems are that we're experiencing at the moment, we understand the context. And our contact tracing team is doing an outstanding job of making sure that we can trace down every one that that are close contacts with these travellers, or positive cases.”

In the regions, there were six cases in the South West, three in the Kimberley, two in Wheatbelt, two in the Great Southern two in the Pilbara, two in the Mid-West and one in the Goldfields.

Ten coronavirus patients are in Perth hospitals, with three in a critical condition.

Mr Cook said all the COVID-19 cases so far investigated appeared to be related to overseas travel, cruise ship passengers or close contact with people who had travelled internationally.

He was peppered with questions at the press conference about Australian Medical Association WA president Andrew Miller’s calls for broader lockdown.

He didn’t respond specifically to Dr Miller’s comments, but said everyone should work together.

“WA along with the rest of the country is in a crisis, and in a time of crisis that is a time for leadership, that’s a time for people to step up and be part of a time,” he said. “There’s only two teams here … you are either on team WA or on team COVID-19.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails