WA Premier set to extend emergency powers until 2022 to allow for more border closures and Covid restrictions
- Western Australian government looks to extend emergency powers until 2022
- No new local cases have been recorded for a fourth straight day on Wednesday
- Premier Mark McGowan said the remaining restrictions are on track to be lifted
Western Australia is closer to further easing coronavirus restrictions as it gets on top of a small outbreak, but the state government is also considering extending its emergency powers to impose lockdowns and shut borders until 2022.
No new local cases have been recorded for a fourth straight day after a hotel security guard and his two housemates tested positive on the weekend.
WA Health on Wednesday said test results had confirmed that a man in his 30s who returned a weak positive test result this week was a historical case.
Premier Mark McGowan said the remaining restrictions in Perth and Peel, including a ban on crowds at major sporting events, were on track to be lifted
The man had recently returned to the town of Collie, 200km south of Perth, after spending 14 days in quarantine in Melbourne.
He had travelled back to Australia from Poland.
Further testing has confirmed the man is no longer infectious but is shedding the virus from a historic infection.
He and his close contacts are no longer required to self-isolate.
Premier Mark McGowan said the remaining restrictions in Perth and Peel, including a ban on crowds at major sporting events, were on track to be lifted.
‘The chances are, hopefully we’ll be back to a normal situation this weekend or the following weekend,’ he told reporters.
The government is also introducing a bill to parliament to extend its coronavirus state of emergency powers until January 4, 2022.
The passage of the bill is in no doubt, as Labor controls both the lower and upper houses of parliament.
WA has been under a rolling state of emergency since March last year, allowing the government to enforce border closures and quarantine measures.
Western Australia is closer to further easing coronavirus restrictions as the government looks to extend its emergency powers until 2022
Authorities now believe the latest hotel quarantine outbreak may have stemmed from the guard at the Pan Pacific handling the luggage of two returned overseas travellers.
Genomic testing indicates the guard has the same US variant of the virus as the two guests who were staying on the same floor.
Mr McGowan said he had been advised the guard was wearing gloves when he handled their luggage in a lift.
He defended the safeguards in place for hotel quarantine workers, who were already subject to strict personal protective equipment requirements.
‘The measures that are in place are as strong as you can make them,’ he said.
‘There’s not much more we can do.’
The guard, aged in his 20s, spent several days in the community after becoming infected.
On his days off work from April 27 to 30, he moved through the community going shopping, seeing friends and visiting Mirrabooka Mosque.
A full list of exposure sites is available on the HealthyWA website.
The guard and his seven housemates, two of whom also tested positive after working as food delivery drivers, were moved into hotel quarantine at the weekend.
WA Health has so far identified 108 close contacts and 75 have tested negative. Results are pending for more than 250 casual contacts.