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WA records second COVID-19 death after man falls ill following cruise ship holiday

ABC NEWS logo ABC NEWS 26/03/2020 By Eliza Laschon

A Perth man in his 70s has died from COVID-19, taking Western Australia's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak to two.

The man died at Joondalup Health Campus after testing positive to the virus. He was receiving care within an isolation room prior to his death.

The WA Health Department confirmed the man was a cruise ship passenger.

His death takes the national toll from the virus to 13, after Victoria recorded three deaths in the space of 24 hours.

In pictures: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world

The first person to die in WA was 79-year-old James Kwan, who contracted the virus on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

Overnight an additional 26 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in WA, bringing the state's total to 231.

Of the new cases, 17 are male and nine are female. The youngest of the new cases was a seven-year-old child and the oldest was aged 81.

Roger Cook wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: WA Health Minister Roger Cook says the vast majority of coronavirus cases in WA so far have come from overseas. (ABC News: Hugh Sando) © Provided by ABC NEWS WA Health Minister Roger Cook says the vast majority of coronavirus cases in WA so far have come from overseas. (ABC News: Hugh Sando) "I understand that child is self-isolating at home with their family and is comfortable," WA Health Minister Roger Cook said.

One of the cases is from the Pilbara in WA's north.

It means there are now two cases in the Mid West, one in the Goldfields, six in the South West, three in the Kimberley, two in the Wheatbelt, two in the Great Southern and two in the Pilbara.

Mr Cook said 11 patients remained in Perth hospitals, three of them were in a critical condition.

WA in 'strong' position: Minister

Four of the cases diagnosed today are from cruise ships, taking the total number of cruise ship passengers with COVID-19 in WA to 51.

Mr Cook said every case confirmed in the state up until Wednesday night had been connected in some way to overseas travel.

"Fifty per cent of those people were people who have returned to Western Australia on flights," Mr Cook said.

"Twenty five are cruise ship passengers and 25 are close contacts with either those cruise ship passengers or people who have returned from flights.

"That is a really strong situation for Western Australia to be in."

Mr Cook said two of today's new cases had been listed as an "unknown source", but that did not necessarily mean they contracted the virus via community spread.

"The vast majority of our cases have come from overseas, with a small percentage acquired through contact with confirmed cases," he said.

Mr Cook also confirmed one man in his 70s had been transferred off the Artania cruise ship to a Perth hospital.

He said the man had a life-threatening condition that was not related to COVID-19 and he was not one of the seven passengers on board the ship who tested positive.

"However, as a precaution he is being treated in a negative pressure room at Fiona Stanley Hospital to ensure we don't take any unnecessary chances," Mr Cook said.

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