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WA restrictions ease as Premier urges community to stay vigilant

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

As restrictions ease in Perth and the Peel regions, Premier Mark McGowan is reminding locals WA is still in the incubation period since from latest outbreak, which sparked the three-day snap lockdown

A new relaxation of Western Australia's COVID-19 restrictions have come in to place as of midnight (2am AEST) but Premier Mark McGowan is urging the community to stay vigilant.

"It's about wearing a mask, it's about doing the right thing, it's about ensuring you follow all the rules and precautions we are putting in place," he said.

He said the new level of restrictions will remain in place for the next week.

READ MORE: New Zealand travel bubble breach as Cook Islands traveller flies to Perth

WA Premier Mark McGowan takes off his mask.

Masks will remain mandatory indoors and on public transport in the WA capital and neighbouring Peel region but many other restrictions will be significantly eased as planned.

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; nightclubs can reopen but will be forced to comply with the four-square-metre rule.

READ MORE: Tens of thousands allowed at AFL derby as WA eases COVID-19 restrictions

Outdoor community sport can return with spectators and the local AFL derby at Perth Stadium on Sunday can host a 75 per cent crowd. Meanwhile, indoor fitness venues, dance studios and gyms can all reopen too, with mask requirements.

Gatherings inside at home will be limited to 30 people, funerals can be enlarged to 200 guests and outdoor gatherings could go ahead for up to 500 people without a COVID-19 event plan.

All elective surgeries will resume and patient visit restrictions have been eased slightly.

While there are no new locally-acquired cases of COVID-19 in the state today, there was a trans-Tasman bubble glitch.

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A passenger on board an Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Perth was discovered to be "ineligible for quarantine-free travel to Australia".

It is understood a man flew from Rarotonga in the Cook Islands to Auckland on Thursday before taking the 10.30am flight to Perth on Friday.

New Zealand has a one-way bubble system with the Cook Islands, meaning people aren't require to isolate on arrival but they are required to stay in NZ for at least 14 days before transiting to another country, which didn't happen in this case.

READ MORE: WA Premier defends strict lockdown by comparing it to NSW model

It's understood the airline realised the breach and reported it to authorities about an hour into the flight.

"We are working with the relevant authorities on both sides of the Tasman and will follow their guidance," Air New Zealand said in a statement.

"The next steps for this passenger will be determined by the Western Australia authorities."

Perth lockdown

Since the start of the snap three-day lockdown across the WA capital and neighbouring region last week, there have been more than 53,000 coronavirus tests conducted across Western Australia in what Mr McGowan called "a great result".

"People have taken it seriously," he said.

However, he urged people with symptoms to continue to come forward, noting that WA is still in the incubation period since the latest outbreak, sparked by an infectious Victorian man who spent five days travelling around Perth and Peel.

Western Australia has halved the number of returned overseas travellers coming into the state this month as it grapples with its latest outbreak and Mr McGowan has flagged that could become a more permanent reduction.

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The Premiere was forced to defended his decision last week to send Perth and Peel into a snap three-day lockdown, saying it remained preferable to months of lower-grade restrictions.

Perth lockdown

"Lockdowns are a method that does help prevent the spread of the virus very quickly, and it gets the matter over with as quickly as we possibly can," he said.

"The Western Australia model has been we try and prevent the virus from coming in, with borders. If we have any spread of the virus we try and kill it quickly. That's a far better model than allowing the virus to linger in the community."

He claimed that Western Australia had done "better than any other state in Australia" at keeping the virus out and he would continue to pursue that strategy.

He pointed to the outbreak on Sydney's Northern Beaches as an example of an outbreak where extended measures restricted residents' movement and cost the economy.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/perth-peel-region-coronavirus-restrictions-ease-wa-premier-defends-lockdown/fd25fb7a-b9ec-4dd1-b7b2-f7f5acd93bb5

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