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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 267 asked in the Legislative Council on 19 March 2020 by Hon Charles Smith

Minister responding: Hon R.H. Cook
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 19 March 2020

CORONAVIRUS — SCHOOLS — ATTENDANCE

267. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the parliamentary secretary representing the Minister for Health:

I refer to recent calls by the Western Australian president of the Australian Medical Association, Andrew Miller, for a gradual managed reduction in the Western Australian school population to mitigate risk, slow down the spread of the coronavirus and avoid overwhelming our already under-resourced and stressed health services.

(1) Why is the state government refusing to allow a managed reduction in the school population when other jurisdictions, particularly in Europe, have already done so?

(2) Does the state government recognise that unless timely suppression measures are enacted, we will likely see in WA an exponential growth trajectory in coronavirus cases similar to that experienced in Italy?

Hon ALANNA CLOHESY replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.

(1)–(2) The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, on the advice of the Communicable Diseases Network Australia, has considered and continues to regularly consider a number of social distancing measures to provide advice to the national cabinet on strengthening the control of COVID-19 in Australia. The AHPPC met on Tuesday, 17 March to consider the issue of school closures in relation to the community transmission of COVID-19. The committee's advice is that pre-emptive closures are not proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time.