Australia Perth and Peel residents emerge from COVID lockdown, but stoush over hotel quarantine continues
Perth plunged into a three-day lockdown after ONE local case
Millions of Western Australians have been plunged into a three-day lockdown after one local case of coronavirus.From midnight residents in the Perth and Peel region will be locked down until Tuesday morning, meaning Anzac Day dawn services are cancelled.
The nation's peak medical lobby says there is no excuse for Australia to be using hotel quarantine to house returned travellers, more than a year into the pandemic.
After three days of unease and doubt, Perth and the Peel region will return to relative normality on Tuesday, after a snap three-day lockdown ended at midnight.
The lockdownafter a Victorian man tested positive to COVID-19 in Melbourne, almost a week after leaving hotel quarantine in Perth.
Genomic testing revealed the man had contracted the virus from another person at the Mercure Hotel.
Late last week it was confirmed he had passed the virus on to others in the community.
Concern over hotel quarantine virus spread
Authorities are monitoring the number of virus cases in hotel quarantine from people arriving from India, with further flight cuts on the table.Western Australia's Perth and Peel region on Saturday began a three-day lockdown after a hotel quarantine outbreak led to community transmission.
But after two days of no further community transmission, WA Premier Mark McGowanbe extended.
"This is a fantastic result," Mr McGowan said.
"The short three-day lockdown has done the job it was designed to do.
"It was a circuit breaker we needed to limit community spread and keep our community healthy."
However, there is still a nervousness as many test results from people who have visited the growing list of exposure sites remain outstanding.
While people will now be able to move around more freely, some restrictions will remain in place until Saturday.
Masks remain mandatory, except for children under 12 or during vigorous exercise.
Retail, entertainment and hospitality venues will be required to adhere to a four person per square metre rule.
Perth lockdown begins as COVID cases force city and Peel region into three days of hibernation
People in Perth and the outer-metropolitan area of Peel are waking to the first morning of a three-day lockdown sparked by COVID transmission at a quarantine hotel.People in Perth and the outer-metropolitan area of Peel are waking to the first morning of a three-day COVID lockdown.
Indoor gyms, nightclubs, and the casino will remain closed, while private gatherings will stay limited to 20 people.
Schools and childcare centres will reopen, with staff and secondary students required to wear masks.
Hotel quarantine failures laid bare
Australian Medical Association WA President Andrew Miller said the latest hotel quarantine failure again highlights the system's inadequacies.
"The problem is federal advisors have not yet properly acknowledged airborne spread of the disease," he said.
"That's how it's getting around and that's how it will get around in the community."
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Monday said low COVID-19 case numbers in Australia showed the hotel quarantine system had been successful and does not need to be modified.
But Dr Miller said that argument was fanciful.
"It's not a success to say tens of thousands of people have been through there, because most of those people could have gone straight home and they wouldn't have infected anybody, because they never had COVID," he said.
Perth COVID lockdown update: WA records no new community cases as contact tracing ramps up
Western Australia records no new coronavirus cases in the community on the first day of a three-day lockdown, sparked by a case of community transmission.The lockdown was announced on Friday after a 54-year-old Victorian man tested positive for the virus after completing 14 days of hotel quarantine in Perth.
"So the sign of success is, can it deal with everyone in there being COVID-positive?
"And clearly it can't even deal with a few people."
Mr McGowan has previously questioned why the Curtin Air Base near Derby could not be used as a quarantine site.
The federal government has said the air base was designed for shared accommodation and would be unsuitable.
Pearce RAAF Base has also been mooted as a potential quarantine site, due to its proximity to Perth.
Dr Miller said it is long overdue for governments to address the issue.
"In the long run we need a mining camp, to be put up somewhere near Perth so you have access to the airports and access to people to run it and to the healthcare facilities," he said.
"Our miners do that all the time — we can get them up in a few months.
"It just takes the will of the governments to do that.
"I think both of the governments need to have their heads banged together and told to get on with it."
While not commenting on specific location options, Dr Miller said the same mistakes would be repeated unless change occured.
He said without trying other options soon people would suffer.
"As a general member of the public, I don't believe that it can't be done," he said.
"I think the reasons that it's resisted are cost and a lack of appreciation that this virus is airborne.
"If you continue to do what we're doing now you're just going to repeat the same mistakes in a cruel experiment inside horrible hotels."
Perth and Peel COVID-19 lockdown reaches third day as WA awaits case numbers .
As Perth and the Peel region enter a third day of lockdown, residents and businesses are anxiously waiting to find out whether it will be the last.To date, two people have been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 via community transmission, after a Victorian man likely became infected while in Perth hotel quarantine.