WA premier Mark McGowan announces restrictions after Victorian man, who contracted coronavirus at the Mercure in Perth, infected a friend

Australia newsWA premier Mark McGowan announces restrictions after Victorian man, who contracted coronavirus at the Mercure in Perth, infected a friend
Perth and Peel will enter a snap three-day lockdown from midnight Friday after a Victorian man, who tested positive to Covid-19, spent five days in the community while infectious after leaving hotel quarantine.
The Western Australian premier, Mark McGowan, announced the lockdown which will remain in place until midnight Monday after a close contact of the Victorian man also tested positive.
McGowan said he had to do what was needed to quash the outbreak.
We need to act and do what is necessary to prevent further community transmission. We have 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 do everything we can to protect our way of life.
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The Victorian man tested positive after quarantining in a hotel room adjacent to another positive case at the Mercure hotel in Perth.
He had tested negative towards the end of his two-week quarantine period and spent five days in Perth before he flew back to Melbourne on Wednesday and subsequently tested positive.
We now need to assume he was infectious, McGowan said.
The man stayed with a friend and her two children at their home in Kardinya and went to restaurants, cafes and a swimming pool. The friend he was staying with tested positive on Friday.
The man boarded flight QF778 from Perth to Melbourne and authorities are scrambling to contact all 257 passengers.
Victoria has told passengers on the flight they must get tested and isolate for 14 days. Anyone who was in Terminal 1 at the airport between 6.30pm and 7.30pm on Wednesday 21 April must also get tested and isolate until a negative result has been returned.
People in the Perth and Peel regions will not be able to leave home for the next three days except for essential reasons, including work where it is not possible to work from home, shopping for essentials, and exercise with a maximum of four people for an hour.
Masks must be worn from 6pm Friday until midnight on Monday night, except during vigorous exercise or while at home or in a vehicle.
Pubs, bars and clubs will be closed, with takeaway allowed. Gyms and indoor sporting venues, playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor recreational facilities, as well as cultural venues such as cinemas and libraries, will all be closed.
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Visitors will be barred from hospitals or residential aged care or disability facilities, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Weddings and funerals will be limited to a 100-patron capacity, while places of worship will also need to close.
McGowan also announced that Anzac Day dawn services will be cancelled across the Perth and Peel region, although drive-through dawn services will happen again this year.
He also said he had contacted the prime minister to request Western Australias international arrival cap be halved from 1,025 to 512 a week for the next month.
Given the situation around the world, with cases increasing and the stress on our hotel quarantine system, it is important we have a pause on the number of cases coming in to our quarantine facilities.
McGowan called the virus insidious, saying authorities had made many changes to the hotel quarantine program but infections were still occurring.
All these things we have done progressively in order to make sure that the system is as safe as we can make it. But what youve got to understand about Covid is that it is insidious.
Somehow it has gotten from a room into another two other rooms. It is insidious despite all the other measures we have put in place. Other states have gone through the exact same experience.
He said the government was still trying to make the hotels fit for the purpose of quarantine, based on the latest report into the hotel quarantine program, but that those upgrades were happening as people were coming through the system.
The police commissioner, Chris Dawson, urged people to follow the mask mandate and said sporting events would go ahead over the weekend but only players and officials would be allowed to attend.
He said the lockdown would be implemented from midnight to allow police to establish checkpoints around the Perth and Peel area.
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Logistically, the lockdown we have staged is from midnight tonight for a number of practical reasons. I cant deploy police to these vehicle checkpoints on the Perth and Peel boundaries until about midnight.
We have to get those in place and we will.
He said people would be allowed to leave the region up to midnight, and encouraged people to be safe on the roads.
This long weekend you should limit your movements but we accept the practicality of this is that people will be moving for the long weekend and from midnight tonight as the lockdown commences.
McGowan said it had been more than a year since the last case of community transmission in the state but that the lockdown was necessary.
We need to go back to what we know best. I know this is hard to take and I wish we didnt need to do this. We cant take any chances with the virus.
In response, New Zealand has paused flights to and from Perth, including stopping a flight due to leave Western Australia on Friday night. The countrys Covid minister Chris Hipkins said NZ would await further advice from the West Australian government, and advised New Zealanders in WA to follow the local advice.
New South Wales Health will screen people arriving from Perth at Sydney airport to determine if theyve visited any of the venues of concern in WA.
Those people will be asked to get tested and isolate until they get a negative result.
Anyone arriving in Sydney from Perth or the Peel region after midnight on Friday will be required to follow the same three-day lockdown rules as in place in WA.
NSW will reflect the stay at home restrictions that apply to Western Australia, a NSW Health spokesperson said.
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