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Australia watching as crowds flock to footy amid health warnings

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Footy is finally back and the fans are all for it, with crowds piling into Perth’s Optus Stadium since 4pm.

Western Australia faces a nervous wait to determine how well it has suppressed coronavirus after hosting Australia's biggest public gathering since the pandemic began.

Up to 30,000 people packed Perth's Optus Stadium last night for the AFL showdown between Collingwood and Geelong, despite doctors warning the huge turnout may end with regret.

It came on the same day Victoria recorded the nation's worst COVID-19 numbers to date, 317 new cases in 24 hours, threatening to plunge the state into a new level of lockdown.

The Australian Medical Association's WA president Dr Andrew Miller said the Perth event was a "huge gamble".

"What we're betting with is the health and livelihood of the whole of Western Australia," he said.

The WA government believes its safety measures will be enough to prevent outbreaks.

Only mobile phone tickets or card payments were accepted and every second row left empty.

Sanitiser stations were installed throughout the venue, and every toilet, bar and food outlet open to minimise queueing.

Any pitch invasion was to be considered a breach of quarantine rules and attract up to a $50,000 fine.

There were to be no post-game autographs or any interaction between players and fans.

You can get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App Store, Google Play and the Government's WhatsApp channel.

Beyond Blue's Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is a 24/7 service free of charge to all Australians. Visit the site here or call 1800 512 348.

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Source: 9News

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