Authorities say a hotel security guard who triggered a mass lockout in Western Australia has reduced the highly contagious UK variant of COVID-19.
- The close contacts of the victim hotel guard are being checked for COVID-19
- Tests have been negative for 13 high-risk contacts
- A Perth CPD Tele has been added to the list of sites visited by the police
Western Australia went into a five-day lockout yesterday evening after a hotel security guard working at four points in Sheraton Perth tested positive for the corona virus.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the next five days would be “critical” for controlling the movement of people in the area where the case came to light.
“Today we got advice on what the UK is different from.”
Prime Minister Mark McGowan said no local cases of COVID-19 had been detected in the WA overnight after the state sank into a five-day lockdown.
A total of 3,171 corona virus tests were conducted in WA yesterday, compared with an average of about 500 daily.
Close contacts of the guard in isolation
Mr McGowan said he had examined the security guard’s close contacts in detail.
“A total of 13 close contacts have now tested negative and those 11 high-risk contacts have been converted to hotel isolation as an additional precaution,” he said.
66 close contacts have been identified as a whole, and all of them have been tested, or will be tested today, and were in isolation.
“As the contact tracking team becomes more active, the number of close contacts may also increase,” he said.
Mr McGowan reminded anyone visiting any of the known exposure sites visited by security guards to check in as soon as possible.
The man went to the clinic two days after his illness
Authorities say the guard worked at the isolated hotel on Tuesday and Wednesday last week before calling in patients with symptoms on Thursday.
But instead of going to a Covit test clinic, he went to a GV on Friday afternoon, when he was advised to attend a Covit-19 clinic.
He didn’t do it until the next day, Saturday.
Authorities believe he may have been “probably infected” on January 26 and 27 when he spent time in the community, and that he may have been infected on the 25th, a week earlier.
“This person should not be considered a criminal,” Mr Dawson said.
“He volunteered himself for the test. Yes, we have some questions about the timing, but he is cooperating.”
Added new transfer risk location
Crop N Go Co Convenience Store on Milligan Street in Perth CBT added another spot to its hot spot list this morning.
Premier said resources at the COVID-19 testing clinics will continue to increase to cope with the influx of people.
All metropolitan clinics are open until 10pm, and people can check in at private pathology centers and drive-in facilities.
“I know it’s hot out there, so please bring some water and if you’ve going to test wear a hat,” Mr McGowan said.
“You are doing your civic duty as Western Australians, so thank you. We can do more testing and better manage this situation.”
The use of masks is ‘very encouraging’
Mr McGowan said it was very encouraging for most people to wear masks when leaving the house and to avoid leaving the house except for the four exceptions provided.
“People often listen to instructions,” he said.
“We have to keep it at least until the weekend.”
Mr McGowan said police would take a “common sense” approach to enforcing the mask rule, adding that he understood that some people could not afford masks yet.
Police are providing masks to members of the public who are not where they can be, and the government plans to distribute the masks to social organizations for vulnerable people.
Mr Dawson moved to clarify the rules surrounding masks, saying that those who leave home should wear them at all times, including in all indoor environments such as offices, except when driving alone or swimming.
All other exercises, including walking and running, require a mask.
Children under the age of 12 are not required to wear a mask at any time, but parents are encouraged to use them if their children wish to wear one.
Warning against travel
Mr McGowan reminded residents of Perth, Peel and the South West that if the “exceptional situation” is not met, the lock will remain in place until it is removed.
“If you want to travel between regions, make sure you have supporting documents such as a letter from your employer or evidence related to a medical appointment,” he said.
He clarified that during the lock-up period, Peel and Perth were considered a territory so anyone who wanted to travel for a reason allowed could do so freely between the two.
Seven police checkpoints have been set up to monitor travel in Perth and Peel, and there will be eight in the regional areas and there will be random police patrols.
The G2G pass system for people moving between regions is expected to be released by Monday afternoon.
The WA government’s extended mandatory contact registration system was due to take effect on February 12, but will now take effect tomorrow at 6 p.m.
Inquiry and hotel inspection launched
WA police are set to launch a full investigation into the Govit-19 case.
“We need to get down to what happened,” Mr McGowan said.
“The WA Police are allocating strong evidence for this investigation. They have forensic expertise … to do the necessary work.”
Further review of WA’s Hotel Isolation System, headed by Professor Tarun Veeramantri, WA’s former Chief Health Officer, is set to begin soon.
“We will not leave any stone unturned to make sure we find out what happened to prevent this from happening again,” Mr McGowan said.
Mr Dawson said the police investigation would be called ‘903’ to indicate the total number of people in the WA affected by COVID-19.
He said it would “complement” efforts to find contact with the health department, but it was not a criminal investigation.
“In the 903 case this particular person is very mobile in the community.
“We need to establish very clearly not only what happened at the hotel, but also his movements, when, where and with whom.”
The case triggers new clues with NSW
NSW Deputy Prime Minister John Barillaro called the WA’s tight border closure “meaningless” after the positive COVID-19 case.
But Mr McGowan called the comments “wrong.”
“He’s obviously wrong. Having boundaries helps,” he said.
“I think it’s stifling us in the face, it’s common sense. Unfortunately, I do not think New South Wales has learned that lesson.”