03/02/2021 - 11:00

Kirkup demands more PPE, masks for frontline workers

03/02/2021 - 11:00

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As the Perth, Peel and South West regions enter day three of the five-day lockdown, opposition leader Zak Kirkup has added to the Liberal Party's list of demands for the state government.

Kirkup demands more PPE, masks for frontline workers
Opposition leader Zak Kirkup has demanded frontline workers wear masks at all times. Image: Jesinta Burton.

The Liberal Party has added to its list of demands for the state government, calling on the government to provide an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for hospital staff and ensure hotel quarantine workers wear a mask at all times.

The state is now more than halfway through a five-day lockdown of the Perth metropolitan, Peel and South West regions after a hotel security guard contracted the UK strain of COVID-19 from a returned overseas traveller.

The guard, a man in his 20s, is understood to have contracted the virus after delivering medication to the traveller’s room, and had not been wearing a mask while doing so.

During a press conference this morning, opposition leader Zak Kirkup said the Australian Medical Association had indicated that doctors and nurses were well short of the necessary PPE and called on the government to rectify the situation immediately.

Mr Kirkup said he was disturbed by news that not all hotel quarantine staff had been required to wear masks and that the government should immediately order all hotel quarantine workers to wear masks at all times.

He also said the state government had let the chief health officer and the state down by not implementing the necessary measures.

“I think it’s absolutely fair and absolutely reasonable to expect nurses and doctors to have access to adequate PPE,” Mr Kirkup said.

“The reality is that we’re in a five-day lockdown because we have seen failures in our hotel quarantine system.

“People cannot send their children to school and small businesses are losing thousands of dollars a day from not being able to open because the hotel quarantine system failed.

“Doctors, nurses and medical staff should be getting access to personal protective equipment to keep them safe and their patients safe, but they’re not getting access to that at the moment.

“In fact, some of the correspondence I’ve seen more recently indicates that hospitals are rationing their masks and that, unfortunately, some doctors and nurses are having to wear masks even when soiled or damp.

“That’s a significant concern. We’re in Western Australia, we should expect the very best from our government here to respond to this situation.

"Unfortunately, after all this time, after Western Australians have done all this heavy lifting, there still seems to be a lot of confusion within the government about the exact circumstances surrounding what has occurred and what can and cannot happen in a hotel when dealing with a returned traveller.

“We don’t seem to have a government that is adequately prepared to respond to this [COVID] outbreak, despite having more time than any government in the nation to prepare for an outbreak.

“The chief health officer’s advice is very, very clear, and we support that, but the government has failed to implement that accordingly.

"I think we're at a point now where we should see some leadership and some admission that they have failed. This was obviously a clear failure of policy and a clear failure to implement the chief health officer's advice.

“I worry that, after all this time, the government has become complacent.

“We have asked time and time again for adequate PPE for our hospital workers, but that hasn’t happened."

More to come.

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