Decision on Perth lockdown imminent as Premier weighs options after outbreak

Premier Mark McGowan says he will decide whether the city of Perth will go into lockdown on Sunday morning, after a hotel quarantine security guard and two of his housemates tested positive to COVID-19.

The Premier would also decide on whether crowds would be allowed at the Western Derby match between AFL teams West Coast and the Fremantle Dockers, which is set to take place at Optus Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

A man gets tested in Joondalup.Credit:Sharon Smith

He said information regarding the outbreak was coming through constantly, but the fact that the city had been subject to some COVID-19-related restrictions at the times the three people were infectious in the community meant that he would not make the decision to go into another lockdown during his snap press conference on Saturday afternoon.

“But it is possible that this could change tomorrow ,or the day after,” he said.

“Our restrictions in place, and the use of masks, and the ability of our contact tracers and testing give us the ability to hold on a lockdown decision this afternoon.

“Our contact tracing team has been ramped up, our testing clinics will also ramp up. Right now we need to let our teams do their jobs and provide us with the information we need to make a decision tomorrow morning.”

Test results for close contacts and contact tracing would be the priority on Saturday night and into Sunday.

“It’s important that anyone who has been to an exposure location at the relevant time is tested immediately,” he said.

The Premier said people in Perth and Peel or from those regions but currently elsewhere in the state must wear masks indoors and outdoors.

He said he would not accept community transmission of this virus and asked everyone to follow the health advice, especially over the next 24 hours. The message was get tested if you were feeling unwell, or had been to an exposure site.

Mr McGowan said the positive man had been very cooperative and responsible.

It was not known how exactly he acquired the virus. He worked in hotel quarantine at the Pan Pacific Perth but wore PPE. CCTV was being looked at to investigate how it was passed from a positive hotel guest to the guard.

The man had already had his first COVID-19 vaccination shot and was a very responsible person who had been using the SafeWA app and getting tested regularly.

Hotel quarantine has proved a tough system to manage, with Mr McGowan saying it was very difficult to run a perfectly secure system.

Vaccinations were being implemented for all staff, CCTV was used to monitor what was going on in the hotels and air purifiers were used when any guests were positive to the virus.

The city of Perth had only just come out of a three-day lockdown sparked by the transmission of the virus between guests at the Mercure Hotel.

“The thing about this case, as opposed to other cases, historically, is this case, or this person, became positive when we a had huge number of restrictions in place across the community,” Mr McGowan said.

“And that means we have a higher degree of confidence or higher degree of confidence that there hasn’t been community spread of the virus.”

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