Perth and South West on Lockdown after Quarantine Hotel Worker Tests Positive

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The 10-month coronavirus-free streak in Western Australia ended with a hotel quarantine security guard testing positive for COVID-19 in Perth, sending much of the state into a five-day lockdown. The snap lockdown began at 6:00 pm, affecting the entire metropolitan area of Perth, the region of Peel and the region of the South West.

It’ll last until Friday at 6:00 pm.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said people must stay home except for essential travel such as:

  • Shopping for essentials like groceries, medicine and necessary supplies
  • Health or healthcare conditions, including compassionate needs and treatment for the vulnerable
  • Exercise in their neighbourhood, but only with one other person and for one hour a day.
  • Job, where you are unable to work remotely or from home.

Widespread closing of companies and venues

They’ll shutter bars, clubs, playgrounds, and gyms.

For the lockdown period, indoor sports venues, playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor leisure facilities are also expected to close. Large religious gatherings and places of worship, libraries and cultural institutions, cinemas, entertainment venues and casinos will all be closed.

No visitors will be approved to care for homes or hospitals. Restaurants and cafes have to close too, but only takeaway service can be offered.

Schools cancel to reopen

Schools that were supposed to reopen on Monday will remain closed for a further week. On Monday, schools outside the lockdown area will resume term as usual.

“It is in effect an extension of the school holidays,” said Mr McGowan.

“I know this is going to come as a shock to many Western Australians. Western Australians have done so well for so long, but staying at home, maintaining physical distance and personal hygiene, and getting checked if you have symptoms is completely vital this week.

This is a very serious situation, and each and every one of us have to do everything we personally can to stop the spread in the community.”

The Premier also announced that for the lockdown time, Labor’s election campaign would be suspended.

Masks are obligatory

Mr McGowan said they would be expected to wear a mask at all times when people left home for important travels.

In addition, he said it was also mandatory to wear a mask if people needed to go to work in an indoor area.

“To be clear, mask-wearing on public transport is also mandatory,” he said.

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Mr McGowan said that people in the regions of Perth, South West and Peel needed to remain for the five-day lockdown within their area unless they needed to leave for one of the permitted exceptions.

“We are strongly encouraging that everyone in this area who is from another WA region, stay here,” said Mr McGowan.

“Do not travel further outside of this area until the lockdown is over. If you do need to travel outside the region … you are in now, that can only occur if you need to return to your place of residence.”

The Premier said he had recommended his state and territory counterparts “put a stop to any travel into WA as an extra precautionary measure”.

“Border controls are important here and I [fully] support them to ensure that we can get through this.”

Weddings off, limited funerals

Just 10 people will be permitted to attend funerals, while weddings have been cancelled for the lockdown period.

People will not be allowed to visit between households except caring for someone vulnerable or in an emergency. Except under rare cases, visitors to elderly care homes, hospitals or disability facilities would not be permitted.

Mr McGowan said elective surgery for category two and three would be suspended from Tuesday, February 2, but category one and two could continue.

The case could be mutant UK strain

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Mr McGowan said the security officer was working at Sheraton Perth’s Four Points.

“When the man was working at this hotel there were four active cases of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine,” Mr McGowan said.

“Of those four cases, we have at least three confirmed variant strains, two UK and one South African. We are told the guard was working on the same floor as a positive UK variant case.”

The security guard’s household members have tested negative this morning, but Mr McGowan said he expected they would test positive in coming days.

At a state-run hospital, Mr McGowan said, they were put into quarantine.

The Premier said that to monitor his movements, the infected security guard had used the SafeWA touch register app.

The Government has released a list of possible exposure sites.

Anyone who had been to those venues during those times and dates must attend a COVID-19 clinic to be tested before isolating until receiving a negative test result. In addition, anyone who lives or works in the Falkirk Avenue, Maylands area including Coles, Liquorland and the Maylands shopping precinct are encouraged to take the test as well.

Roger Cook, WA Health Minister, said that COVID-19 clinics would remain open until 10:00 pm on Sunday, and would reopen on Monday at 8:00 am. He advised people to not rush in, as people were asked to be checked in the coming days while on isolation at home.

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Source: abc

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