Australia’s Perth dodges new lockdown, but imposes restrictions
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan announced on Sunday that there will be no second snap-lockdown in the city of Perth, but some movement measures will still be imposed after earlier reports that a hotel quarantine security guard and two of his housemates tested positive for COVID-19.
McGowan said there have been no new cases detected in Australia’s fourth-largest city overnight and therefore he will not put it into another lockdown in two weeks.
Still, the premier said that Perth will not allow spectators during Sunday afternoon’s Western Australia football derby, which was expected to attract as many as 45,000 people.
He said allowing spectators into the Optus Stadium would put too much strain on Perth’s contact tracers. Authorities had earlier said they would allow 75 percent capacity at the 60,000-seat sporting venue.
“I understand people will be disappointed. Some people will be frustrated, but the decision has been made on health advice, and we’ve tried to communicate this as quickly as possible,” he said.
“The game will still go on. And of course, people can watch it from their own homes.”
According to reports, nightclubs will be also be closed immediately until after midnight on May 8.
“Our restrictions in place, and the use of masks, and the ability of our contact tracers and testing give us the ability to hold on a lockdown decision,” McGowan had told reporters on Saturday.
Australia, which has no other community transmissions of the coronavirus, this weekend banned citizens who had been in India within 14 days from returning home, as the world’s second-most populous nation contends with a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The country has all but stamped out community infections after closing its borders to non-citizens in March 2020, recording just 29,800 cases and 910 deaths.
The infected 20-year-old security guard worked at Perth’s Pan Pacific Hotel and had already had his first COVID-19 vaccine, McGowan said earlier. He was now quarantining alongside his seven housemates, five of whom had so far tested negative.
New Zealand late on Saturday night paused travel from Western Australia, cancelling two flights due to arrive on Sunday morning. The Pacific nation last month agreed to a quarantine- and COVID-testing free “travel bubble” with Australia.