Western Australia has quietly entered campaign mode for the March state election against a backdrop of empty streets and bushfire destruction.
Premier Mark McGowan on Wednesday advised Governor Kim Beazley to issue the writs for the March 13 election, marking the formal start of the campaign.
As the premier noted, it is a legislative requirement for the writs to be issued on time under WA's four-year, fixed-term election periods.
But unlike previous years, there was little pomp and circumstance.
Most WA residents are the midst of a five-day lockdown after a hotel security guard unwittingly roamed the streets of Perth while infected with COVID-19.
Firefighters are meanwhile battling a rampant bushfire in Perth's northeast which has destroyed more than 70 homes and ripped through almost 10,000 hectares.
But while the government has entered caretaker mode, both Labor and the Liberals will keep their campaigns suspended until the Perth lockdown ends.
"Obviously we'll get to the end of this week and we'll make further decisions," Mr McGowan said when asked about his party's campaign plans.
"But our focus is on dealing with these two crises. This bushfire is a huge risk. I just do not want to see anyone die out of this - this is so, so worrying.
"And COVID, we are managing it as best as we can."
Liberal leader Zak Kirkup, whose depleted party appears little chance of defeating the popular incumbent government, said the opposition would fully resume its campaign once the lockdown ended.
"At the moment, I'm much more interested in making sure we support every measure to keep West Australians safe," he said.
A government spokesman said there were clear guidelines under the caretaker conventions that allow the government and state disaster council to continue managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The premier will continue to participate in national cabinet, as other state and territory leaders have done during the pandemic," he said.
"The state government and the WA Electoral Commission will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in Western Australia to ensure the 2021 state election is COVID-safe."