Western Australia goes into five-day lockdown after hotel quarantine security guard catches UK Covid super-strain
- Western Australia will enter a harsh five day lockdown amid Covid case
- The state had enjoyed close to 10 months without a single case of Covid-19
- Mr McGowan recently announced he would ease border restrictions this week
The state’s Premier Mark McGowan called an urgent press conference on Sunday to explain a man in his 20s tested positive to the virus after midnight on Saturday.
He worked two shifts at Sheraton Four Points in Perth‘s CBD, and was stationed on a floor where at least one returned traveller was diagnosed with the highly infectious UK strain of the disease.
Mr McGowan said genomic sequencing is already underway, but it would be reasonable to accept that the man has contracted the mutant strain, and that his close contacts would test positive in the coming days.
The state had enjoyed close to 10 months without a single case of Covid-19 in the community, a feat Mr McGowan credits to his tough stance on borders.
Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan held an emergency press conference on Sunday
But due to the new case, there will be a five day lockdown beginning 6pm on Sunday, with residents only allowed to leave their homes for four reasons.
Supermarkets were struggling to cope with the demand by Sunday afternoon as panic buyers rushed to stores to stock up for the lockdown.
There are reports some have been forced to close their doors to give employees an opportunity to restock.
Mr McGowan implored the public not to rush to stock up on supplies.
Just one day earlier, the premier announced he would allow travellers from Queensland and Victoria to fly in without having to quarantine or self isolate.
He said the decision was made in response to both states’ continued success in the fight against Covid.
From Monday February 1, Queenslanders were supposed to be exempt from the strict quarantine process, while Victorians would be welcomed in from February 5.
The state enjoyed close to 10 months without a single case of Covid-19 in the community, a feat Mr McGowan credits to his tough stance on borders by closing his state off from the rest of Australia for most of 2020
The development came as Australia reached a milestone two weeks without any community transmission.
But there are now concerns about whether this will go ahead, given Mr McGowan’s latest update.
The concept of a short, sharp three day lockdown is not foreign to Australia, with governments in both South Australia and Queensland opting to introduce them to stem the spread of Covid in the past.
Queensland’s 72 hour lockdown came last month after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel contracted the highly infectious UK strain of Covid at work.
She spread the infection to her partner, but there were no other known cases in the community.
The premier announced on Saturday he would allow travellers from Queensland and Victoria to fly in without having to quarantine or self isolate
After three days, lockdown was lifted and restrictions eased swiftly in the week to follow, with state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declaring the weekend an enormous success.
It followed South Australia’s decision to lock down months earlier, when Covid was detected in the community after months without any transmission.
There are fears Victoria could break its Covid-19 free spell after a test came back with an ‘indeterminate result’.
Department of Health and Human Services took to Twitter to make the announcement on Sunday.
‘DHHS received a notification of an indeterminate result last night,’ the tweet read.
‘Follow up tests are underway and precautionary public health actions are being taken. There will be an update on the case later today.’
From Monday February 1, Queenslanders were supposed to be exempt from the strict quarantine process, while Victorians would be welcomed in from February 5