Restrictions back as WA reports virus case

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A West Australian woman who visited Sydney and returned home has picked up COVID-19, prompting increased restrictions including mask wearing indoors.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook on Sunday said the north Perth resident was earlier this month in the Bondi area of Sydney and dined at the Lyfe Cafe, which has since been listed on NSW’s list of virus exposure sites.

It is assumed the woman – who tested negative to COVID-19 a day after she returned to WA on June 20 – has the Delta variant.

She began to experience respiratory symptoms on Friday and has been isolating since then, as has her husband. She tested virus-positive on Saturday.

Mr Cook said residents of the Perth and Peel regions would immediately be required to wear masks indoors and on public transport.

Public events will be restricted to 150 people, while Sunday’s AFL match between West Coast and Western Bulldogs will go ahead without crowds.

The Chicken and Beer Festival in Perth scheduled for Sunday has been cancelled.

A 30-person limit is in place for private gatherings and Perth and Peel venues must adhere to the “two square metre” rule.

Travel to WA’s remote Indigenous communities will be restricted.

Mr Cook didn’t rule out a future lockdown, with WA’s current restrictions to remain for at least three days.

He insisted the infected woman had followed health advice to the letter by getting tested upon her return to WA, then getting tested and self-isolating as soon as she experienced symptoms.

She had already received her first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

“We are watching the situation in NSW and seeing just how quickly and easily the Delta variant is transmitted within the community,” Mr Cook told reporters.

“This is a proportionate response.

“These decisions aren’t easy but we believe that they’re very necessary because we, at this stage, don’t know the nature of the threat.”

The woman, who worked as a physiotherapist, may have been infectious since Tuesday. Since then she has visited various venues across north Perth including supermarkets, a gym and a brewery in Mindarie.

She also saw a number of physio clients on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Mr Cook said there would likely be a “significant number” of people deemed casual contacts of the woman.

Her husband – who was also on the Sydney trip – has not tested positive to date.

A hard border was on Wednesday reimposed in WA for NSW residents, currently in lockdown due to the 110-person Bondi cluster.

Mr Cook also didn’t rule out reimposing a hard border for all other Australian states as outbreaks occur across the country including in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

But he said internal state travel restrictions were not yet necessary.

WA health authorities are contacting all residents who have travelled from NSW in the past seven days. Those people are encouraged to monitor for symptoms and get tested if they appear.

Australian Associated Press

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