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Police are hunting for up to three people following a dramatic police pursuit which saw a gunshot fired in Perth's eastern suburbs.

Western Australian police began pursuing a silver Holden Cruze sedan through Gosnells this morning after it was reported stolen on Friday.

The sedan evaded police and it is believed one of the occupants of the stolen car discharged the firearm at a property.

Three hours later officers discovered the sedan, bearing the registration 1DJL456, had been dumped with a tomahawk, a machete and t-shirt left inside the vehicle.

Nine News understands officers are hunting for two men and a woman, suspected to have been involved in a robbery, stealing fuel and the shooting.

Schools in the area were placed into lockdown for around 20 minutes following the incident but returned to normal operations.

Anyone who sees the occupants of the vehicle are asked to call 000 immediately.

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Fears of a coronavirus pandemic have grown after sharp rises in new cases reported in Iran, Italy and South Korea but China relaxed restrictions on movements in several places including Beijing as its rates of new infections eased.

The surge of infections outside mainland China triggered steep falls in Asian shares and Wall Street stock futures as investors fled to safe havens such as gold. Oil prices tumbled.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it no longer had a process for declaring a pandemic but the coronavirus outbreak remained an international emergency.

"We are specially concerned about the rapid increase in cases in ... Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea," WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Sweden.

South Korea reported a seventh death and 231 new cases taking its total to 833, as its hard-hit fourth-largest city of Daegu became more isolated with Asiana Airlines and Korean Air suspending flights there until next month.

Japan had 773 cases as of late Sunday, mostly on a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo. A third passenger, a Japanese man in his 80s, died on Sunday.

Iran, which announced its first two cases on Wednesday, said it had confirmed 43 cases and eight deaths. Most of the infections were in the Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Qom.

More cases appeared in the Middle East with Bahrain reporting its first case, the state news agency said, and Kuwait reporting three cases involving people who had been in Iran.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan imposed travel and immigration restrictions on Iran. But Afghanistan reported its first case on Monday, in the western border province of Herat, again involving someone who had recently been in Iran, officials said.

The WHO has been saying for weeks it dreads the disease reaching countries with weak health systems.

Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy with some 150 infections - from just three before Friday - and a fourth death.

Scientists around the world are scrambling to analyse the virus, but a vaccine is probably more than a year away.

China postponed the annual meeting of its parliament and would ban the illegal trade and consumption of wildlife, state media reported. The virus originated late last year, apparently in an illegal wildlife market in the city of Wuhan.

But in good news for China, more than 20 province-level jurisdictions including Beijing and Shanghai, reported zero infections, the best showing since the outbreak began.

President Xi Jinping urged businesses to get back to work though he said the epidemic was still "severe and complex, and prevention and control work is in the most difficult and critical stage".

Excluding central Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, mainland China reported 11 new cases, the lowest since the national health authority started publishing nationwide figures on January 20.

The coronavirus has infected nearly 77,000 people and killed more than 2500 in China, most in Hubei province.

China reported 409 new cases on the mainland, down from 648 a day earlier, taking the total number of infections to 77,150 cases as of February 23. The death toll rose by 150 to 2592.

Xi said on Sunday the outbreak would have a relatively big, but short-term impact on the economy and the government would step up policy adjustments to help cushion the blow.

Outside mainland China, the outbreak has spread to about 29 countries and territories, with a death toll of about two dozen, according to a Reuters tally.

Italy sealed off the worst-affected towns and banned public gatherings in much of the north, including halting the carnival in Venice, where there were two cases.

© AAP 2020

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During the height of the bushfire crisis, when cities and towns became blanketed in a thick smoke, concerns regarding our respiratory health were at the forefront of public conversation.

Although the smoke may have cleared, some experts are warning that bushfire smoke impacted more than just our lungs and as the recovery effort begins, a focus on mental health should remain a focus.

According to expert and architect Jan Golembiewski, the environment can impact mental health in two ways.

The first is through chemicals that enter our system and directly affect the brain.

"These toxins are in very small quantities in bushfire smoke, and are unlikely to make much psychological impact," Mr Golembiewski told

"The other mechanism is more insidious and it's through the perceptual pathways.

"Unlike toxicology, this effect is far more personal and depends entirely on who you are and on your life situation."

Mr Golembiewski said smoke can send strong and often overwhelming messages about the extent of the fires and our ability to control them.

"[People] might feel there's very little they can do about it, even as the things they care about - the environment, the sea, the country, the animals, the forests, homes, friends' homes and friends - all suffer and die."

"These messages are tough. They create feelings of disempowerment, isolation and anxiety. And it's messages like these that set the stage for mental illness.

"It ultimately comes down to our ability or inability to cope and when our inability to cope becomes chronic, that most certainly leads to mental illness."

Mr Golembiewski says the mental strains of bushfire smoke are not entirely separate from the physical strains and it is often the two combined that can trigger anxiety or depressive behaviour.

"If you can't deal with your body, it's much harder to deal with your emotions," he said.

"And if you fail to cope with your mental load, you can often develop delusions which can lead to psychosis."

With the most recent bushfires indicative of broader trends showing longer and more extreme fire seasons, Mr Golembiewski said the conditions will take their toll.

"If we see these kinds of fires year in and year out, we're going to see a huge influx of people presenting with mental illness."

Tessa Anderssen from ReachOut Australia said there was a noticeable influx of young people seeking help for mental illness during and after the bushfire crisis.

"Young people have shared how they are worried about the smoke affecting their health, how the smell of smoke is in their clothes and hair, and feeling scared, hopeless, irritable and stressed," she told

"What we know is that young people are having conversations specifically about smoke from the bushfires in our online peer support forums. They are saying it's having a negative impact on things like their mood and relationships," she said.

Mr Golembiewski said the bushfire crisis coinciding with the summer holiday period can further exacerbate the mental toll on some people.

"The summer is an opportunity to let go and have fun and forget about the stress and that experience is really important recovery time but if we get fires year in and year out there will be a major mental health affect," he said.

"If we lose that time, that reinforces our lack of ability to cope emotionally because everything becomes very taxing. On that level we're likely to see an increase in mental illness.

"All of these things form a complied narrative – it's about the dust, it's about the burnt leaves that fall from the sky and land on your garden, it's about your favourite holiday place incinerated, it's the stories we tell each other and the stories we tell ourselves and that can be extremely damaging."

But Mr Golembiewski said people shouldn't be alarmed.

"The brain is much like the body, if you damage it, it can recover. You can have a period of high anxiety and you can even have a minor breakdown and you can recover because the brain has a capacity to recover."

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China's deadly coronavirus outbreak could have spread from bats to humans through the illegal traffic of pangolins, the world's only scaly mammals, which are prized in Asia for food and medicine, Chinese researchers say.

Pangolins are among Asia's most trafficked mammals, although protected by international law, because its meat is considered a delicacy in countries such as China and its scales are used in traditional medicine, the World Wildlife Fund says.

"This latest discovery will be of great significance for the prevention and control of the origin (of the virus)," South China Agricultural University, which led the research, said in a statement on its website.

The outbreak, which has killed 636 people in mainland China, is believed to have started in a market in the city of Wuhan, in central Hubei province that also sold live wild animals.

Health experts think it might have originated in bats and then passed to humans, possibly via another species.

The genome sequence of the novel coronavirus strain separated from pangolins in the study was 99 per cent identical to that from infected people, China's official Xinhua news agency reported, adding the research found pangolins to be "the most likely intermediate host".

But Dirk Pfeiffer, professor of veterinary medicine at Hong Kong's City University, cautioned the study was still a long way from proving pangolins had transmitted the virus.

"You can only draw more definitive conclusions if you compare prevalence (of the coronavirus) between different species based on representative samples, which these almost certainly are not," he said.

Even then, a link to humans via food markets still needed to be established, Pfeiffer said.

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Samples from a child evacuee on Christmas Island have been sent to Australia for urgent testing with concerns it could return positive for the deadly coronavirus.

Doctors and nurses inside the detention centre on Christmas Island caring for Australians evacuated from Wuhan have sent the samples from a young girl to the mainland as a precautionary measure however it is the first time a sample has been sent to Australia to make sure.

The sample was put on a plane yesterday and results should be confirmed within the next 24 to 48 hours.

A new quarantine site for more evacuees from China has been set up in Howard Springs in the Northern Territory.

The total number of confirmed cases in Australian remains at 15, while the global number has risen to 31,530.

The total number of deaths has now risen to 638 however the number of people who have successfully recovered is more than double, currently sitting at 1,764 worldwide.

Even in the epicentre of the outbreak, in Hubei, the number of recoveries has surpassed the number of deaths with 867 people successfully cleared after contracting the virus.

Evacuees bound for Darwin delayed

The next group of coronavirus evacuees expected from Wuhan will be quarantined at an old mining camp near Darwin.

Passengers on the second flight to extract Australians from China will be sent to the Manigurr-ma Village at Howard Springs, 30km from Darwin, with Christmas Island unable to house another couple of hundred evacuees.

Roughly 260 Australians will be on board the flight and health officials are stressing those being evacuated are not sick or showing any symptoms however must be quarantined as a safety measure to prevent the further spread of virus.

The passengers will be screened a total of five times – once before they leave China, twice on the flight, then at the RAAF Base in Darwin and again when they arrive at the quarantine site.

Anyone found to be unwell on arrival at Darwin will be taken directly to hospital where they will be quarantined, according to the joint statement from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, Health Minister Greg Hunt and Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy.

Professor Murphy said those staying at the Howard Springs facility were unlikely to become infectious and their health would be closely monitored.

"It is important people living in and around Howard Springs know the novel coronavirus can only be transmitted by close contact with an infectious person and cannot be spread through the air," he said.

"The health and safety of the Howard Springs community is of paramount importance and I am confident the security and public health measures put in place will prevent any risk to the community's health."

Residents in Howard Springs have raised concerns about the location of the site being so close to homes however officials have reassured locals there is no danger.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned people not to assume further evacuation flights will be possible, either from Wuhan or mainland China.

The first bus-loads of evacuees were due to arrive this morning however the flight was delayed because clearance for it was not secured by China.

Mask prices soar due to increased demand

Demand for masks, gowns, gloves and other protective gear has risen by up to 100-fold and prices have soared due to the coronavirus, producing a "severe" disruption in global supply, the World Health Organisation chief says.

The situation has been made worse by people who are not medical workers buying the protective gear for their own use, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.

"When supplies are short and demand is high, then there could be bad practices like hoarding in order to sell them at higher prices, and that's why we ask for solidarity," Tedros told a briefing at WHO headquarters in Switzerland.

"Demand is up to 100 times higher than normal and prices are up to 20 times higher" and the rush has created supply backlogs of four to six months, he added.

Frontline health workers in China, where 31,211 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported, need the bulk of such supplies, he said.

Tedros said that he had spoken to manufacturers and distributors to ensure supplies for those who need them most, with health care workers a priority followed by the sick and those caring for them.

The WHO has sent gloves, masks, respirators and other "personal protective equipment" - known as PPE in its jargon - to every region, he said.

Tedros said that he had just spoken to the WHO's "pandemic supply chain network" which includes manufacturers, distributors and logistics providers to ensure that protective supplies reach those in need.

"We call on countries and companies to work with WHO to ensure fair and rational use of supplies and the re-balancing of the market. We all have a part to play in keeping each other safe."

The public and private network was focusing first on surgical masks because of the extreme demand and market pressures, Tedros said, adding: "We are appreciative of companies who have taken the decision to only supply masks to medical professionals."

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