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WA bans international school trips amid coronavirus

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Western Australia has banned international trips for all school excursions and non-essential ministerial travel effective immediately as the state prepares to update its pandemic plans to combat the coronavirus.

Western Australia has banned international trips for all school excursions and non-essential ministerial travel effective immediately as the state prepares to update its pandemic plans to combat the coronavirus.

The ban impacts travel to all overseas trips outside of the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

"All travel is banned. In some point in the future we might review that but for now all travel is banned," WA Education Minister Sue Ellery told reporters today.

"I would encourage parents to contact schools directly."

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Australia's first coronavirus death was recorded on Sunday when a 78-year-old Perth man succumbed to the respiratory illness COVID-19.

Retired travel agent James Kwan died peacefully in the intensive care unit at Sir Charles Gairdner hospital after contracting the virus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Six hundred people have been tested for the virus in the state, with two people returning a positive. Mr Kwan and his wife were the two positive tests.

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WA Premier Mark McGowan says the government is delving into a "whole of government response".

Mr McGowan said hospitals across the state are preparing pandemic plans which will include fever clinics to provide assessment.

He said elective surgery and some upgrades to hospital emergency departments would be put on hold in the event of community spread of the virus.

He said as part of the state's pandemic planning, they are investigating how private hospitals could also assist. Plans are also being assessed for the state's public transport, schools and major events and large venues.

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"We are taking this very seriously, we need to be prepared but we need to remain calm," Mr McGowan said.

"We want to be prepared for whatever might occur… the probability is that it will be community spread of the illness, but we don't know how much or how well we can contain it.

"We are preparing for any eventuality. If necessarily we would wind back elective surgery to free up hospital beds for people with coronavirus."

More than 3000 people have died worldwide from the virus, with the number of confirmed cases surpassing 89,000.

Australia has 39 confirmed cases of the virus, with 13 cases in New South Wales

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-western-australia-bans-international-school-trips/f1ef94db-2700-4b52-bb73-8cb1e6e0ad0b

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