02/02/2021 - 11:00

Kirkup demands 24-hour testing clinic, no second jobs

02/02/2021 - 11:00

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The WA Liberal Party has demanded the state government immediately establish a 24-hour COVID-19 testing clinic and stop frontline workers from holding second jobs.

Kirkup demands 24-hour testing clinic, no second jobs
Zak Kirkup has demanded improvements to both the hotel quarantine and COVID testing system. Image: Jesinta Burton.

The Liberal Party WA has demanded the state government immediately establish a 24-hour COVID-19 testing clinic and stop frontline workers from holding second jobs to address gaps in the state’s hotel quarantine system.

The state is now two days into a five-day lockdown after a hotel quarantine worker at Four Points by Sheraton in Perth's CBD contracted the highly contagious UK strain of the virus.

It is not yet known how the transmission occurred.

According to health authorities, the man began experiencing symptoms and called in sick to work on January 28, but visited more than 10 public places throughout the Perth metropolitan area before testing positive for the virus on January 30.

There are also reports the man held a second job as an Uber driver, but the state government insists he had not worked that job since January 22.

Thousands of Western Australians who are considered potential contacts of the guard are now being required to present for testing, with long queues and wait times at COVID-19 testing clinics.

During a press conference early this morning, opposition leader Zak Kirkup said the information that had come to light since the state was placed in a five-day lockdown was proof that something had gone wrong and called on the state government to implement the recommendations.

He said the state government had had the longest time of any in the country to prepare for a potential outbreak and that there was no excuse but to make sure the state had the best possible practices in place.

“Because of the gaps in the hotel quarantine system, because the recommendations of the [Victorian] COVID inquiry weren’t implemented, we’re in a five-day lockdown,” he said.

“Clearly, something has gone wrong; we’re closing our businesses, families are confused by what it means for them and the elderly and vulnerable fear for what lies ahead.

“It was and will remain our policy to back up fully the chief health officer’s advice, but somewhere along the line, something has failed.

“Today, we’re asking the government to put an immediate end to second jobs for quarantine workers.

“If we have the capacity to shut down a state in a matter of hours, we have the capacity to put an end to second jobs for quarantine workers.

“The state cannot even tell us how many hotel quarantine workers have second jobs.

“Hotel quarantine workers are at the coalface, they shouldn’t be working as Uber drivers and the like.

“Our second request would be that the government immediately establish a 24-hour testing clinic, much like Brisbane did during its lockdown.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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