COVID-19 UPDATE

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Todays’ update contains some positive news. WA’s infection rates are beginning to fall which is wonderful for our healthcare system and those at risk! However that does not mean we will be coming out of lockdown. Such an approach could see WA eradicate the virus locally but then be forced to keep the state’s borders locked down until the nation rides out the pandemic. 

There have been 34 positive cases detected in regional WA, with 8 in the South West, 3 in the Goldfields, 7 in the Great Southern, four in the Pilbara, two in the Midwest, four in the Wheatbelt and six in the Kimberley. In Western Australia up until Tuesday, 364 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and a further 14,340 have tested negative for the virus, with 1,946 of those undertaken in regional areas.

Testing
This week testing will be opened far wider, to allow anyone in the general community with both a fever and a respiratory illness to be tested. Call your healthcare provider if you exhibit these symptoms. 

Intrastate Borders
I have been speaking to the powers that be in response to many of your enquiries about what to do around the intrastate borders. Border access for regions has now come into affect. $50,000 is the fine that will be imposed if you don’t meet cross border travel criteria. Members of the Agriculture Industry are exempt from this but will require justifying supporting documentation at border locations WA Police will be in place to manage the new restrictions.

Please make sure you have an employers letter, email or other documents that show you need to access that region. WA Police are in the process of developing a more structured online process so relevant businesses and travellers can obtain Temporary Travel Permits to clarify the authority and conditions for travel.  Importantly, the permits will allow fast-tracking through boundary check-points to help minimise congestion. I will let you know when and how to access it. 

Official Inter Regional Travel guideline document: https://www.wa.gov.au/government/publications/prohibition-regional-travel-directions

Premiers Press release here: https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/03/Intrastate-travel-ban-comes-into-effect-from-11-59pm-tonight.aspx
 
As stated in the press release “People are encouraged, where possible, to assist police by preparing documentation, such as a letter/email/SMS from an employer, to support their legitimate travel”
 
Remember the key message here is to stay home but if you have to travel across regions you must comply with the guideline document above (refer Essential Service definition section 7(l) within the document). If you are challenged at a checkpoint, people should remain calm and restate reasons for travel providing supporting documentation as stated in the press release.
 
Community Support
The WA Government, through Lotterywest, has now established a $159 million COVID-19 relief fund to provide support to organisations that are helping people experiencing hardship. Eligible not-for-profit organisations and community groups can apply immediately for grant support. Click here for more information.
 
Click here to link to a our website list of COVID-19 resources compiled and updated daily. If you need to speak to anyone at Southern Dirt just go the the contact page of our website. Please ring our mobiles as currently all staff are working from home. Click here for contact details.

Southern Dirt has passed your messages to government and will continue to do so during this crisis. Send an email to ceo@southerndirt.com.au with any issues or concerns. 

Stay safe!
 
Tracey Hodgkins
CEO Southern Dirt

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