Perth and Peel to enter three-day lockdown

Perth and Peel to enter three-day lockdown

Perth. Photo from Australia.com.

Update (27 April): The lockdown was lifted overnight, but Western Australians must continue to wear masks in public at indoor and outdoor areas, practise physical distancing where possible, and maintain good personal hygiene at all times. Fitness clubs, gyms, casinos and nightclubs will remain closed, while other business will have a four square metre capacity rule and 20 patron limit in place. "The lockdown was the circuit breaker that we needed to help crush and contain the virus, and keep the community safe," WA Premier Mark McGowan said.

The Western Australian Government has called a snap three-day lockdown from midnight in the Perth and Peel regions, after a year-long run of no community transmission was broken by a hotel quarantine intra-room infection that has led to two known positive cases.

People in these areas will need to wear masks from 6pm tonight, and must remain home except for the usual exceptions such as essential work, shopping for essentials including groceries, medical or health care needs, and exercise with a maximum of four people.

Anyone who has left Perth or Peel since 17 April will need to wear self-isolate and the same mask rules will apply outside where they are staying.

The decision was made after it was revealed a man in his 50s who completed 14 days of quarantine at Perth's Mercure Hotel tested positive to the virus once he arrived in Melbourne this morning.

The man had tested negative on day 12 of hotel quarantine, was released on 17 April and according to Premier Mark McGowan is presumed to have been infectious in the community for five days.

After leaving hotel quarantine, the individual stayed with a friend and her two children in the Perth suburb of Kardinya and went to a Malaysian restaurant.

That friend tested positive to the virus after taking a rapid COVID-19 test today.

"We need to act and do what is necessary to prevent further community transmission," says Premier McGowan.

"We've gone more than 12 months of no community transmission and our lives in Western Australia have been normal compared to what we have seen around the world.

"We need to do everything we can to protect our way of life. That's why from midnight tonight, Perth and Peel will enter a three-day lockdown over the weekend until Monday night."

The decision also means ANZAC Day services will be cancelled, but the Premier urged people to take part in a driveway dawn service again this year.

"I know this is hard to take, and I wish we didn't need to be doing this, but we can't take any chances with the virus. We just can't," he said.

Premier McGowan confirmed the first case had also visited a swimming pool in Perth's southern suburbs on 18 April, had coffee in Leeming, ate dinner in Northbridge and stayed at St Catherine's College at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

"On the 19th he visited a Chinese traditional medical doctor, went to Northbridge again, and again stayed at St Catherine's College that night," McGowan said.

"On the 20th he visited Kings Park and Northbridge again, on the 21st he had breakfast in a common area at St. Catherine's College, before being driven by his friend to the airport."

The man then boarded flight QF778 from Perth to Melbourne at 1:05pm that day. Victoria Health is in the process of contact tracing the 257 passengers who were on board that flight.

"Locations for both the Victorian case and his friend will be finalised and released publicly as soon as possible. If you have been to these locations during the times listed, you will need to get tested and isolate until you return a negative test result," McGowan said.

"If people are deemed a close contact by public health officials, you will be tested and required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

"We're also obtaining CCTV vision to piece together more details. We know his accommodation at St Catherine's College at UWA has a separate bathroom, which is good news."

The Premier said contact tracing and COVID testing teams were being scaled up, with health officials to visit St Catherine's College to test people.

"Anyone at UWA if you're feeling unwell, you need to get tested as soon as possible," he said.

From tomorrow pubs, clubs, cafes and bars will close but will be allowed to provide takeaway food and beverages.

There will also be closures for gyms and indoor sporting venues, playgrounds and skateparks, cinemas, casinos, places of worship, libraries and other cultural institutions.

However, weddings and funerals will be allowed to go ahead with a maximum of 100 attendees (not including staff), but masks must be worn.

Updated at 2:48pm AWST

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