News Coronavirus Western Australia’s COVID-19 case numbers spike

Western Australia’s COVID-19 case numbers spike

WA Premier Mark McGowan will leave isolation on Thursday as the state eases COVID-19 rules. Photo: AAP
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Western Australia’s Omicron case numbers have spiked significantly with 643 new local infections recorded and five people in hospital.

The figures announced on Wednesday reflect a doubling of case numbers overnight and by far the most local infections WA has recorded during the pandemic.

Calls for the McGowan government to release its Omicron modelling were finally heeded on Tuesday with the release of a five-page WA Health summary document.

The modelling suggests WA will have 463,932 new symptomatic cases and 129 deaths in the next six months, with 715 people admitted to ICU.

It indicates the outbreak will peak between April and May at around 10,000 daily cases before dropping off significantly during the winter months.

WA Health noted the actual numbers could be lower than estimated due to WA being “significantly more vaccinated than other Australian jurisdictions” at the start of its outbreak.

WA’s March 3 border reopening will have “little or no effect” on the outbreak, adding just 13 daily cases.

New restrictions came into effect this week, including density limits at hospitality venues and a state-wide requirement to wear face masks at public indoor venues.

They are on top of existing proof-of-vaccination rules which apply to virtually all hospitality venues, gyms and entertainment venues.

Premier Mark McGowan on Tuesday declined to give an exact time frame for how long the rules would remain.

There is also no guidance on when tougher “level two” restrictions, including stricter density limits and a requirement for students in year three and above to wear face masks, might be triggered.

“Obviously we’ll try and be as brief as possible. But there will be some ongoing restrictions for, I expect, some months to come,” he told reporters.

Victoria, NSW and Queensland have all outlined plans to relax rules around face masks and density limits in coming weeks as they move past the peak of their outbreaks.

Mr McGowan said WA’s circumstances were “completely different”, having had barely any community spread of the virus and few non-travel restrictions prior to its Omicron wave.

About 58 per cent of eligible West Australians have received their third vaccine dose.