Two elderly people dead from virus in WA

Roger Cook says extra support is being given to a man whose wife is WA's latest virus death.
Roger Cook says extra support is being given to a man whose wife is WA's latest virus death.

Two people aged in their 70s have died in Western Australia from the coronavirus, taking the state's toll to six, with quarantine preventing one victim's infected partner from saying goodbye.

A man who had been on board the Artania cruise ship died at Joondalup Health Campus while a woman who had travelled overseas died at Royal Perth Hospital overnight.

The woman's husband, who also has COVID-19, was reportedly denied permission to see her in hospital and remains at a Perth hotel.

Health Minister Roger Cook said such difficult decisions are made by medical staff and he would not second guess them, but would make inquiries.

He said welfare checks were conducted on people quarantining in hotels and extra efforts were being made for the grieving man.

WA confirmed 10 new cases overnight, taking the state's total to 470.

Four of the new cases are linked to cruise ships while one is a health worker in the Kimberley region where there are many vulnerable indigenous people.

Mr Cook said the health worker was a direct contact of a colleague in Halls Creek who was previously confirmed as having the virus.

Two non-indigenous patients have been identified as close contacts of the first health worker but they are well in isolation.

"As of last night, I can confirm no Aboriginal people were identified as close contacts to the first healthcare worker," Mr Cook said on Tuesday.

The region now has 14 cases.

Of 54 people in hospital in WA, 15 are in intensive care while 170 have recovered.

WA's unprecedented hard border closure has so far seen 235 people deemed exempt while two people were turned away.

A further 260 people were allowed into WA and placed in quarantine.

Referring to the modelling released by the national cabinet, Premier Mark McGowan said WA could have lost 30,000 people if strict measures had not been taken.

"It's hard to even think about that number of people dying in our state," he said.

Mr McGowan warned the months ahead would be hard.

"They are going to be frustrating, tedious and at times even boring," he said.

"It will test us all. This is going to be one of the hardest things many of us will ever do.

"We must all stay strong."

Mr McGowan said he was very keen to ensure ATAR continued for year 12 students, even if it meant exams were later in the year or courses were reconfigured.

"It would have to be some sort of disaster we haven't yet envisioned to prevent that from occurring," he said.

Australian Associated Press