CoronavirusSate Politics

New local virus transmission in WA

Photo by CDC on

Western Australia has recorded a fresh community case of COVID-19, bringing the number of known local infections linked to a Perth quarantine hotel to two. 

Both confirmed cases contracted the virus from a man who was quarantining at the Perth Mercure Hotel and is believed to have caught it from fellow travellers on the same floor.

The 54-year-old had flown in from Shanghai, China, and received negative tests throughout his two weeks of quarantine. 

He left quarantine on April 17 and spent five days in the community, spending time with a Kardinya woman, who has contracted the virus. 

The pair dined at Malaysian restaurant the Kitchen Inn on April 18 where a man in his 40s who was there at the same time contracted the virus. 

His positive test result was announced by WA Health on Saturday afternoon. 

The Kitchen Inn, located in Kardinya, as well as four other eateries in East Victoria Park and Northbridge have been deemed high risk sites and anyone who dined there during exposure times must quarantine for two weeks.

Another 14 exposure sites are not as high risk and those who attended at exposure times must self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.

The man who had been in quarantine flew home to Melbourne on April 21.

When he landed, he was contacted by WA health authorities who instructed him to isolate immediately because of virus transmission on the floor of the quarantine hotel he had stayed in.

He got tested in Victoria and his positive test result was announced two days later.

The outbreak has triggered a snap three-day lockdown across metropolitan Perth and the Peel region. 

Residents can only leave home for work, shopping for essentials, healthcare or exercise for one hour.

Anzac Day dawn services will be cancelled and people must wear masks when leaving their homes.

Premier Mark McGowan has said he “hopes” the lockdown will end as planned at midnight Monday.

Genomic testing has confirmed the virus initially spread in the corridors of the Mercure Hotel from a couple who had returned from India.

A pregnant mother and her four-year-old daughter who were staying across the corridor tested positive and remain in quarantine at the hotel.

The Victorian man had been staying in a room adjacent to the couple from India. Victorian authorities on Friday said he was asymptomatic.

Mr McGowan criticised the commonwealth government on Saturday for making the states shoulder the burden of hotel quarantine. 

“I have been calling for commonwealth assistance for hotel quarantine for months now,” he said. 

“I’m getting to the end of my tether.”

However he was issued a swift rebuke, with Canberra saying states and territories had agreed more than a year ago to manage hotel quarantine under their health orders.

“As the premier has been advised, and as health, defence and border force officials have detailed to the parliament, defence bases and immigration centres are unsuitable for quarantining returning Australians,” a spokesperson said.

Mr McGowan suggested Commonwealth facilities at Curtin Air Base near Derby could hold 1500 people, or Christmas Island could be used as a quarantine site. 

“CBD hotel quarantine is not fit for purpose,” he said. 

Mr McGowan is seeking to limit WA’s international arrivals to 512 a week for the next month.

Documents released by the government this week identified the Mercure as one of three hotels considered “high risk” for ventilation issues.

WA’s chief health officer received the report on April 8 and wrote to the premier last Friday advising that the Mercure should stop being used.

The mother, who is six months’ pregnant, and her daughter at the Mercure returned positive tests that day.

The Mercure will soon no longer accommodate returned travellers and the government will review the continued use of the other high-risk hotels.

 Andi Yu – Australian Associated Press

Back to top button