01/02/2021 - 12:00

No new cases recorded: McGowan

01/02/2021 - 12:00

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The state has recorded no further local cases of COVID-19 overnight, as health authorities track down more than 100 close contacts of a hotel security guard that tested positive for the UK strain.

No new cases recorded: McGowan
Premier Mark McGowan. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira.

The state has recorded no further local cases of COVID-19 overnight, as health authorities swing into action to track down more than 100 contacts of a hotel security guard that has tested positive for the highly-infectious UK strain of the virus.

During a press conference this morning, Premier Mark McGowan confirmed that extensive testing had begun of 13 of the man’s close contacts, including the man's three room mates, all of whom had returned a negative result.

Eleven of the 13 contacts are considered to be ‘high risk’ and are undergoing quarantine in state hotels. All 66 of the man's close contacts have been tested, or will be, and remain in quarantine for 14 days.

Other residents living in the man’s apartment complex in Perth’s east have been told they must present for COVID testing, some of whom allegedly found out about the case after the state government’s announcement yesterday.

The state has also added convenience store 'Grab N Go' on Milligan Street in Perth’s CBD as a potential exposure site.

In the last 24 hours, more than 3100 Western Australians have been tested for COVID-19.

Testing sites across the Perth metropolitan area are receiving additional resources and have extended hours of operation until 10pm each night.

Those presenting for testing can also do so at private pathology clinics and drive-through testing centres.

The Department of Health is understood to be in the process of establishing a pop-up testing centre in Maylands.

The Perth metropolitan area, Peel and South West regions began a five-day lockdown at 6pm last night after a hotel security guard in his 20s tested positive for the virus.

He is understood to have been working on the same level as a returned international traveller with the UK strain of the virus, which is reportedly up to 70 per cent more infectious, but exactly how the man became infected remains under investigation.

The man is understood to have begun experiencing symptoms on January 28, calling in sick to work and presenting at a medical centre for assessment on January 29.

On January 30 the man was tested, with the positive result received at midnight. Mr McGowan said the health advice indicated that the earliest the man could have become infectious was January 25.

In the days after he is believed to have become infectious, the man visited various locations throughout Perth’s CBD and eastern suburbs, travelling as far north as Joondalup to attend Edith Cowan University.

For now, bars, clubs, casinos, and schools will remain closed, with exemptions for essential shopping, medical appointments, one-hour of exercise and work.

Mask wearing outside is now mandatory.

Questions have been raised about how the incident could have happened, given the Premier had told a packed press conference that staff working in hotel quarantine, including cleaners, security guards, nurses and police officers in contact with recent arrivals would undergo daily saliva testing three weeks ago.

But the state government has since confirmed the new protocol was a pilot program at one hotel quarantining facility and had not yet been rolled-out at all sites.

Daily saliva testing began on Friday, January 29.

The state and the Department of Health are in the process of putting measures in place to stop frontline workers from having a second job. 

The Premier has today confirmed that a review will be undertaken of the state’s hotel quarantine system and that WA Police will launch an investigation of this incident, but the investigation won't be criminal.

More to come.

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