Australian city of Perth enters full lockdown after single Covid case

31 January 2021, 17:06

Mask wearing has become mandatory in Perth after a single Covid case was recorded
Mask wearing has become mandatory in Perth after a single Covid case was recorded. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The Australian city of Perth has entered a strict five-day lockdown after recording its first and only locally acquired Covid infection in 10 months.

Western Australia - the state in which Perth resides - has implemented tough restrictions in the city, the Peel region and the state’s South West after a security guard working at a quarantine hotel contracted coronavirus.

It is feared the worker may have caught the highly contagious UK variant as he had been working on the same floor as someone with the strain.

The full lockdown came into force at 6pm local time (10am GMT) and will last until Friday night.

Residents are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, such as shopping for food, medical purposes, caring for a vulnerable person or exercising locally.

Schools, bars and restaurants have been made to close along with gyms and cinemas. Mandatory mask-wearing has also been enforced.

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Long queues are seen outside a supermarket in Perth that was designated a potential exposure site
Long queues are seen outside a supermarket in Perth that was designated a potential exposure site. Picture: PA

State Premier Mark McGowan called on Western Australians to rally together to prevent further transmission.

“This is a very serious situation, and each and every one of us has to do everything we personally can to stop the spread in the community,” Mr McGowan told a press conference.

“We have acted decisively and swiftly in these circumstances. In effect, for a short period of time, we are going back to what we experienced in March and April of last year."

The politician added: "I know for many Western Australians this is going to come as a shock.

"We cannot forget how quickly this virus can spread, nor the devastation it can cause.

"Our model is to deal with it very, very quickly and harshly... so that we can bring it under control and not have community spread of the virus as you have seen in other countries around the world."

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The hotel quarantine security worker is in his 20s and began developing symptoms on 28 January, although it is believed he became infectious on 26 January.

It has also been reported that he worked as a rideshare driver. His three housemates have been moved to a managed quarantine area and are expected to test positive for the virus in the coming days.

Mr McGowan said: “We don’t know how this security guard acquired the virus in the hotel."

Lockdown restrictions will impact around 80 per cent of the state's population, of which roughly two million live in Perth - a popular destination for British expats.

Other state leaders have been contacted and advised not to allow people to enter Western Australia.

On Sunday, Queensland and Northern Territory declared Perth and some surrounding areas a Covid hotspot, meaning arrivals from the region must enter a 14-day quarantine.

Australia - which has a population of about 25 million - has recorded nearly 29,000 infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began.

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