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Double probe into Perth virus case

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Police will now examine how the hotel quarantine worker caught the UK strain of the virus, while another probe will look into the state’s quarantine system.

The sole case of COVID-19 which forced two million people in Western Australia into a five day lockdown is now at the centre of two investigations.

Police will now examine how the hotel quarantine worker caught the UK strain of the virus, while another probe will look into the state's quarantine system.

The man had been working as a ride share driver and WA Premier Mark McGowan is reportedly looking into increasing the pay of those employed in hotel quarantine to discourage them from seeking a second job.

Almost deserted on an otherwise perfect beach day in Perth: playgrounds were yesterday shut and streets cleared on day one of a lockdown prompted by the single coronavirus case.

Mr McGowan said the state recorded no new cases of COVID-19 yesterday after a security worker at the Four Points Sheraton tested positive on Saturday evening.

Questions also remain over how long it took to report this community transmission case to the Commonwealth, with reports this morning some health experts claim the information was withheld or delayed for up to 11 hours.

But the most crucial period remains ahead for the state in fear of an outbreak of a more contagious strain of the virus.

"The advice is he has the UK strain," Mr McGowan said.

"We don't know which person in the hotel he acquired it from."

WA Police have launched an investigation into the circumstances that caused the new case to emerge.

"It is not a criminal police investigation but we must know what went on," Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said.

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"We need to establish very clearly not only what happened at the hotel but his movements when where and with whom."

One potential failing seems obvious. Chief Health Officer Dr Andy Robertson could not confirm whether WA Department of Health were notified the quarantine worker had phoned in sick on December 28.

READ MORE: Infected security guard's neighbours 'kept in the dark' amid WA outbreak

So far, the Maylands man in his 20s has been traced to 66 people he was in contact with leading up to testing positive.

The closest contacts on that list are so far clear of the virus.

But there's a long way to go and the next 48 hours will be crucial because coronavirus has an average five- to seven-day incubation period.

"If they're still coming up negative then that would be a good sign," Dr Robertson said.

But anxiety grows for some doing quarantine inside the Ground Zero city hotel.

Yanti Yardie says she doesn't trust the system in place.

"If I get it I'm going to die. That's just a simple fact," Ms Yardie said.

"I have every risk factor apart from age and it's quite (a) concern."

READ MORE: Perth returned traveller adds to warnings on hotel air ventilation

Ms Yardie has asked to be moved from the Four Points Sheraton as she fears the potent UK strain is circulating through the hotel's air conditioning.

But the premier said this wasn't the case.

"The advice we have is the air conditioning system is safe and there is no evidence there's any problem with the air conditioning system," Mr McGowan said.

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It was the premier's snap five-day lockdown that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton had a problem with.

"In terms of an elimination strategy it might be a great political slogan, but it's not a realistic approach to this virus," Mr Dutton said.

"You'll send businesses broke, the surge in domestic violence when people are in lockdown for a long period of time."

But Mr McGowan said Mr Dutton shouldn't be criticising "when we're doing the task we should be".

Source: 9News

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