News State Western Australia News WA lockdown to end, despite new local COVID case

WA lockdown to end, despite new local COVID case

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WA authorities say the drivers spent only one night in Perth, before returning to NSW. Photo: Getty
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More than two million Western Australians will emerge from lockdown within hours, despite the state having another local coronavirus case on Friday.

She is a 21-year-old woman who is the partner of an earlier case, and has been in quarantine since last Sunday.

Friday’s lone community case came from nearly 11,000 COVID tests in the previous 24-hour period.

“Western Australians getting tested in these numbers means we have the confidence to take safe and sensible steps out of the lockdown and on a pathway back to normal,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

“As of midnight tonight, Perth and Peel will exit lockdown as planned.”

Perth and the neighbouring Peel district were sent into lockdown earlier this week after COVID infections were two men aged in their 20s and 30s and a 32-year-old woman, who attended various venues throughout Perth’s northern suburbs.

The woman is believed to have caught the Delta strain of the virus while on a trip to Sydney.

“Lockdowns are tough on everyone. But until we have enough Western Australians vaccinated, they are a necessary tool to get outbreaks quickly under control,” Mr McGowan said.

While the latest lockdown – the third for the regions in five months – will end at midnight Friday (local time), there will be three days of “post-lockdown interim restrictions”.

They will include mandatory masks indoors and outdoors, including on public transport, though not for people engaged in strenuous exercise. TAFE and universities will reopen, although most people are asked to keep working from home if they can.

Private gatherings of up to 10 people indoors and 20 outside are allowed.

“All public venues, including hospitality, entertainment and retail outlets can reopen. The four-square-metre rule will be in place, with a limit of 20 patrons, not including staff, and seated service only,” Mr McGowan said.

There are also limits on weddings and funerals, while indoor sport and visitors to hospitals remain banned.

Mr McGowan said rules were relax further on Monday, as long as the health advice was positive.

WA’s latest local cases have generated nearly 380 close contacts, the vast majority of whom have tested negative for the virus.

Earlier, tourism operators warned they face significant financial losses from the latest lockdowns, with school holidays beginning on Saturday.

A business support package is yet to be finalised, with Mr McGowan noting it would be informed by the duration of the lockdown and any subsequent restrictions.

Opposition Leader Mia Davies urged the state government to use a surplus now tipped to exceed $4 billion to provide immediate support to the regions.

“The Premier must take action in his treasury portfolio – which he chose to undertake – and return some of that surplus into the small businesses and communities that are crying out for help,” she said.

-with AAP