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WA avoids second lockdown

Published: (Updated: ) in 🇦🇺🦘Australian News🇦🇺🦘 by .

The state has recorded no new community cases of the virus today, but mystery still surrounds how ‘case 1001’ became infected inside the Perth quarantine hotel.

Western Australians have avoided what would be their second COVID-19 lockdown in a fortnight for another day, Premier Mark McGowan has announced, with no new community cases detected today.

However, health authorities are no closer to determining how the original case - a hotel quarantine worker at the Pan Pacific Hotel, named case 1001 - contracted the virus from returned travellers.

Premier Mark McGowan's announcement will bring relief to many, but he is still refusing to rule out a lockdown in the days to come, with new exposure sites revealed and some restrictions increased.

READ MORE: Coronavirus breaks out of Perth hotel quarantine with three new cases

Fans will not be allowed to attend today's AFL Western Derby at Optus Stadium.

A huge crowd of 45,000 people had been expected to pack into the stadium for one of Perth's largest sporting events.

Nightclubs will also be forced to close immediately.

Despite no new cases being detected today, Mr McGowan is refusing to rule out a stricter lockdown in the days ahead.

"I want to avoid going into lockdown again - I know how much it can impact people's lives and businesses - but if we need to go back into lockdown we will," he said.

He said the restrictions still in place as a result of the recent outbreak connected to the Mecure Hotel, including the requirement to wear masks, had lowered a lot of the risks for community transmission.

The fresh outbreak stems from a quarantine security guard who worked at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth last weekend, with two of his household contacts also testing positive yesterday.

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They have now been revealed as food delivery drivers, with Mr McGowan saying they could have been infectious since last Tuesday and worked a number of shifts since then.

WA contact tracers are contacting all the restaurants they visited and locations where they delivered food to direct people to isolate and test for COVID-19.

"Public health advice is that the risk is low when it comes to food deliveries, given the minimal contact and the requirement to wear masks," Mr McGowan said.

Any restaurants determined to be an exposure site will be listed on the WA Health website, but this may not include all locations visited by the pair due to the short length of their visits.

One of the positive cases also attended cooking classes at the Perth College of Business and Technology last Tuesday and Wednesday.

The roughly 20 attendees at each class are being contacted by WA Health and directed into quarantine.

The hotel quarantine worker, aged in his 20s, is believed to have been infectious in the community for four days, during which time he visited a number of locations including a shopping centre and a Coles.

It's believed he contracted the virus from two positive travellers quarantining on the same floor he was guarding.

Authorities have reviewed CCTV footage of the floor at the Pan Pacific Hotel where the man was working but been unable to find any potential exposure source, McGowan said.

"Mask wearing was appropriate by the guard in question and there was nothing else that occurred in the area that was unusual," the premier said.

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"What you have seen in other states is exactly the same thing occur: people wear masks and everything is done appropriately and somehow people get infected.

"It just goes to show that sometimes some things appear to be inexplicable."

Other restrictions had already been stepped up yesterday, just one day after they were eased following the previous three-day lockdown which ended last Monday.

Masks are again mandatory outdoors as well as in indoor public spaces and on public transport.

Cafes and restaurants will return to "pretty much business as usual" but hospitality venues must comply with either the two-square-metre rule or 75 per cent capacity.

The latest outbreak has prompted New Zealand's Ministry of Health to pause the trans-Tasman travel bubble with Western Australia.

Scheduled flights between WA and New Zealand have been cancelled, including a flight from Perth which had been due to land in Auckland at 5.50am on Sunday morning.

The NZ government is also advising anyone who has arrived into the country from the WA capital in the last four days to check the exposure sites and self-isolate immediately if exposed.

Other Australian states have yet to increase travel restrictions with their western neighbour, but extra protocols are being put in place.

In New South Wales, Perth arrivals are being screened by dedicated health teams after disembarking at Sydney Airport and all travellers are required to complete an entry declaration if they've been in WA within the 14 days prior to entering NSW.

Victoria has added the Perth exposure sites - which include a shopping centre and Coles - as 'Tier One' exposure sites, with anyone who has visited the locations at the relevant times being sent into an immediate 14-day quarantine.

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Perth and Peel remain 'orange' zones under Victoria's traffic light border restrictions, meaning travellers must apply for an exemption before being permitted to enter the state.

South Australia is directing recent Perth arrivals to self-quarantine if they visited any of the exposure sites and to complete documentation to notify SA Health.

Hotel quarantine worker exposure sites

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronvirus-wa-lockdown-fears-hotel-quarantine-worker-two-household-contacts-test-positive-to-covid/015a83e2-c20d-4004-9d88-b7f59cb0490c

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