News Coronavirus No new COVID community transmission on first day of WA lockdown

No new COVID community transmission on first day of WA lockdown

Perth's Mercure where the COVID virus slipped from room to room. Photo: AAP
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Western Australia has recorded no new community cases of COVID-19 on the first day of a snap three-day lockdown in Perth and the Peel region.

The lockdown was announced on Friday after two new cases were traced back to a city hotel.

One case involves a 54-year-old man, who tested positive to COVID-19 in Melbourne after quarantining in Perth’s Mercure Hotel.

Victorian authorities are contacting people who were on the same flight from Perth to Melbourne as the infected man.

He had spent five days in the Perth community and infected one of his close contacts.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan on Saturday confirmed two new cases had been recorded since yesterday’s case numbers were provided.

One case was the Perth woman in her 40s who was a close contact of the Victorian man.

The other new case is a woman in her 50s who is a returned traveller from India and is in hotel quarantine.

The hotel where the outbreak occurred is no longer being used for hotel quarantine.

Mr McGowan had earlier defended his state’s hotel quarantine system after a report from the Chief Health Officer warned of the high risk hotels like the Mercure posed.

“The hotels are not built for this purpose, Mr McGowan said, noting improvements had been made.

“The hotels are full and we’ve got thousands of people coming in through the airports. We’re dealing with a system that is already operational and full and we’re trying to improve it while these people are in the hotels.”

Mr McGowan said contact tracers had identified 337 contacts, including 71 close contacts of the two positive cases, but that number was expected to rise.

The WA Premier has asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison if the state can halve the number of weekly international arrivals over the next month, from 1025 to 512.

Unless there is further community transmission, the lockdown will end at midnight on Monday.

For the duration of the Anzac Day long weekend, people in the lockdown areas will only be able to leave home for work, shop for essentials, for medical or healthcare reasons or for up to one hour of exercise daily.

Masks in public are mandatory, except in the case of vigorous exercise, or in cars with people from the same household or for children aged under 12.

Pubs and restaurants are closed, but are open for takeaway.

Following the latest outbreak, Australia is keeping a close watch on coronavirus cases in hotel quarantine from people arriving from India.

New Zealand, which last week opened a trans-Tasman travel bubble, on Friday announced a pause on travel from Western Australia.

NSW Health announced it would screen all flights from Perth to identify those who had visited venues of concern in WA.

“NSW will reflect the stay at home restrictions that apply to Western Australia,” it said.

Queensland from midnight will require any resident who has been in Perth or Peel since April 17 to enter hotel quarantine for up to 14 days while non-residents will require an exemption to enter and also must quarantine.

Queensland has recorded one new case of COVID-19, a seaman who was infected overseas, as the state asks travellers arriving from parts of Western Australia to quarantine in hotels.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said Queensland’s latest case is a man who became ill while on a vessel from Japan, with the boat now off Mackay’s coast.

“Everyone on the vessel has been tested, and one is positive,” she said.

Ms Young said two historic cases were also identified overnight, but are not considered a risk to the community.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has asked travellers arriving on flights from Western Australia to comply with lockdown measures following community transmission in the state.

There are two flights arriving into Brisbane today, as well as others to the regions, including Cairns.

Anyone on board the flights who has been in the Perth or Peel regions on or since 17 April is required to hotel quarantine for up to 14 days.

Anyone entering Queensland before midnight is required to obtain a COVID test and remain at home until 2am on April 27, only going out for essential reasons once they have received a negative test.

Elsewhere, Tasmania has declared Perth and Peel high-risk regions, with travel and quarantine rules imposed for those coming into the state who may have been in those regions.

The NT has also declared Perth and the Peel region COVID-19 hotspots.

-with agencies