02/02/2021 - 10:00

Contact register system expanded

02/02/2021 - 10:00

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Western Australians will be required to sign in at retail venues, commercial transport services, and hospitals after an expansion of the COVID-19 contact register.

Contact register system expanded
The government has expanded requirements for the COVID-19 contact register. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The state government has introduced new requirements for the COVID-19 contact register, with Western Australians now required to sign in at retail and takeaway venues, commercial transport services, and hospitals.

Until now only restaurants and cafes, indoor sporting venues, public pools, churches, salons, galleries, movie theatres and hotels had been required to participate in the scheme.

The expansion of the contact register system, which was introduced by the state government in December, is designed to control the spread of COVID-19 if a community outbreak occurs and interrupt potential chains of transmission.

The register can be done either manually or electronically via the state government’s SafeWA app, which allows people to check in using a QR code. 

The data is then sent to the Department of Health, which securely stores it for 28 days in case it is needed for contact tracing purposes.

Failure to comply with the new requirements could result in penalties of up to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a business, or up to 12 months' imprisonment.

In the past eight weeks, more than 1.1 million Western Australians and 32,000 businesses have downloaded the SafeWA app, and there have been more than 20 million check-ins with the app.

The expansion of the program was not due to take effect until February 12, but was brought forward as the state went into a five-day lockdown after a hotel security guard tested positive for the UK strain of the virus.

The system was vital in assisting health authorities to publish a list of locations the guard had been in the days after he was infected with the virus and ensure those who came into contact with the guard were sent for testing.

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