23 Apr 2021

WA announces three-day lockdown

10:07 pm on 23 April 2021

All travel between New Zealand and Western Australia has been paused after a three-day lockdown was announced in Perth and the Peel region, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

Western Australia state Premier Mark McGowan (C) speaks to media announcing that 72 homes have been destroyed by fires, in Perth on February 3, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Collens / AFP)

Photo: AFP

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced the three-day lockdown starting midnight tonight (local time), with masks made mandatory from 6pm.

McGowan said: "We need to go back to what we know best. We need to keep ourselves safe. We have all done this before and it has kept us safe. It is crucial we are calmly and sensibly keeping the community safe."

Hipkins said it was an example of the type of scenario both countries had planned for, and travel between New Zealand and Western Australia (WA) would be paused pending further advice from the state government.

A flight due to leave Perth for New Zealand later tonight would not take off, he said and any New Zealanders affected were asked to follow the advice of WA authorities.

He said all passengers on an earlier flight from Perth to Melbourne that carried a passenger who had Covid-19 had been contact traced, and no one on that flight had travelled on to New Zealand.

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New Zealand's Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins Photo: RNZ/Samuel Rillstone

New Zealand health officials were in contact with their Australian counterparts and were completing a risk assessment, he said.

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said public sporting events during the same period would only be allowed to have professional players and officials in attendance. Community members will not be allowed into those venues.

Anzac Day services will be cancelled.

It follows news a man contracted the virus in a Perth hotel quarantine and flew to Melbourne.

The Victorian man is the third person to be infected with the highly transmissible UK strain while staying on the sixth floor of the Mercure Hotel Perth.

The 54-year-old man left hotel quarantine on 17 April but did not return to Melbourne until 21 April.

McGowan said that meant he spent up to five days in the community infectious.

Victoria Health received the test result of the man in his 50s who travelled from Perth. He arrived in Perth on 3 April, on flight SQ223, after spending time in Shanghai. His room was close to the other cases recorded in the hotel - a family from the UK and a couple from India.

He returned a negative result on day 12 in hotel quarantine and was then subsequently released on the 17 April, before leaving for Melbourne on 21 April. That means he spent up to five days in Perth. Authorities are assuming he was infectious during this five-day period.

After leaving hotel quarantine on 17 April, he stayed with a friend and her two children at their home in Kardinya and went to a Malaysian restaurant. That friend has had a rapid Covid-19 test today and that has just returned a positive result.

On the 18 April, the Victorian case visited a swimming pool in the southern suburbs. He had a coffee in Leeming, and dinner in Northbridge, and then stayed at St Catherine's College at UWA - which offers short-stay accommodation. On 19 April he visited a Chinese traditional medical doctor, went to a Northbridge and again stayed at the college that night. On the 20th he visited Kings Park and Northbridge again.

On the 21 April he had breakfast at St Catherine's, before being driven by his friend to the airport. He boarded flight QF 778 from Perth to Melbourne at 1.05pm that afternoon. That flight had 257 passengers onboard. Authorities are currently contact tracing.


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