Parts of WA go into full lockdown as hotel guard tests positive for Covid

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·6-min read

A positive case of coronavirus has been reported in a community member in Western Australia.

WA Premier Mark McGowan made the announcement during an emergency press conference Sunday afternoon, revealing the individual is a male hotel quarantine security guard in his 20s.

“The information we have is fast evolving,” Mr McGowan told reporters.

“Based on the information we have, it appears possible that this new positive case has the highly transmissible new UK variant.”

The man was working at the Sheraton Four Points in the city and had tested negative for Covid-19 on Friday, January 15. He developed symptoms on Thursday 28 January, and phoned in sick, and did not go to work at the quarantine facility.

Genomic testing results will be known on Tuesday morning to determine if he has the UK variant.

Premier Mark McGowan speaks to media, revealing a snap lockdown from Sunday night. Source: AAP
Premier Mark McGowan speaks to media, revealing a snap lockdown from Sunday night. Source: AAP

“When the man was working at this hotel, there were four active cases of Covid-19 in hotel quarantine. Of those four cases, we have at least three confirmed variant strains, two UK and one South African,” the premier said.

“We are told the guard was working on the same floor as a positive UK variant case. The guard completed two 12 hour shifts on both the 26th and 27 January.”

The man’s close household contacts have been alerted and placed in quarantine.

“All three have tested negative this morning. However, we can expect that they will become positive in coming days,” Mr McGowan said.

The entirety of the Perth metropolitan area, Peel and South West area will subsequently be locked down from 6pm Sunday for a five day period.

Authorities are investigating how the breach happened but say he did not enter a hotel room. They do not believe he worked in any other roles during the period in question.

Lockdown conditions announced

People in the metropolitan, Peel and South West areas are required to stay at home until Friday at 6pm except for shopping for essentials, medical or healthcare needs, exercise, or work if working remotely is not possible.

“If you do leave home for one of the four reasons you will be required to wear a mask at all times outside, and if you need to do work indoors, then wearing a mask is also mandatory,” the premier said.

Mask wearing on public transport is also mandatory.

“We are strongly encouraging that everyone in this area who is from another WA region, stay here. Do not travel further outside of this area until the lockdown is over,” Mr McGowan said.

“If you do need to travel outside the region you are in now, that can only occur if you need to return to your place of residence.”

Transporting essential goods is permitted, many businesses however will be required to shut down for the five-day period.

Pubs, bars and clubs, gyms and indoor sporting venues, playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor recreational facilities, centres, entertainment venues, and casinos will all have to close.

Large religious gatherings and places of worship as well as libraries and cultural institutions will have to cease operation. The same goes for restaurants and cafes, except in the case of providing takeaway service.

The man was a security worker at Four Points by Sheraton in Perth. Source: TripAdvisor
The man was a security worker at Four Points by Sheraton in Perth. Source: TripAdvisor

Ten people can attend funerals, while weddings will have to be cancelled for the next five days.

No visitors are permitted to inside other people’s homes unless in the case of caring for someone vulnerable or in an emergency.

No visitors will be allowed in aged care homes unless exceptional circumstances and no visitors are allowed in hospitals, and/or disability facilities, unless in the case of exceptional circumstances.

Elective surgery and procedures for categories two and three will be suspended from Tuesday while category two and category one, and urgent category two surgery will continue.

All schools, both public and private, will be closed for the coming week.

“For a majority of schools, school was due to start tomorrow. That has now been put on hold and schools will be closed until next week, following the lockdown measures. It is in effect an extension of the school holidays,” Mr McGowan said.

‘Fast-moving situation’

Mr McGowan announced he had recommended to other state premiers to stop travel into Western Australia “as an extra precautionary measure”.

“I support them to ensure that we can get through this. All these measures will be reviewed regularly and the Chief Health Officer will continue to monitor this serious situation and provide more ongoing advice,” he said.

“This is an extremely fast moving situation. I have convened a meeting of the state disaster council after this press conference, to ensure across government we are working together and doing everything we can.

“I know for many Western Australians, this is going to come as a shock. Western Australians have done so well for so long, but this week it is absolutely crucial that we stay home, maintain physical distancing, and personal hygiene, and get tested if you have symptoms.”

Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson (centre) seen with Premier Mark McGowan Sunday. Source: AAP
Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson (centre) seen with Premier Mark McGowan Sunday. Source: AAP

Exposure sites revealed

A host of exposure sites have been released including Coles Maylands on January 25 between 8pm and 10pm, and KFC Maylands on January 27 between 6pm and midnight.

Mitsubishi Motors car dealership in Midland on January 27 was an exposure site from 7pm to close, Spud Shed at Coventry Village on January 27 from 8pm to midnight, ECU Joondalup on January 28, from 11am to 2pm.

The consulate of India on Saint Georges Terrace in Perth on January 28 from 12pm to 5pm, Halal Grocery Store in Cloverdale on January 28 from 7pm to 9pm as well.

The positive case also visited the Venus Ladies and Gentlemen Hair Design in Maylands on January 29 from 1pm to 3pm, the Perth Convention Centre on January 29 from 4pm to 6pm, and the Nedlands family practice GP surgery on January 29 from 5pm to 6pm.

He also visited Chemist Warehouse in North Perth on January 29 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, 7Eleven Ascot petrol station on January 29 from 8pm to 9pm.

As well as Paul's Maylands supermarket on January 29 from 8pm until 9pm the Puma service Station in Burswood on January 13 from 11am until 12pm, Coles Express Shell service station in Cloverdale on January 30 from 12pm until 3pm, and Pharmacy 777 at Mayland Park shopping centre.

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