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Yikes: Western Australia enters snap five-day lockdown following mystery COVID case

Large parts of WA are waking up to their first day in hard lockdown following the state’s first locally acquired COVID-19 case in almost 10 months.

Effective from 6 pm Sunday (January 31) till 6 pm Friday (February 5), Premier Mark McGowan announced the lockdown as a response to the “fast-evolving situation in Western Australia with [a] positive COVID-19 case detected in a hotel quarantine worker.”

A “full lockdown” means that residents in the entire Perth metropolitan area, the Peel Region, and the South-West region must follow strict stay at home orders. They can only leave their homes for essential grocery shopping, medical reasons, to care for the vulnerable, or exercise within their neighbourhood.

western australia lockdown map

In a statement, WA Premier Mark McGowan detailed the situation as “very serious” and identified the case as a hotel quarantine worker in his ’20s who contracted symptoms on January 28. Authorities believed that the patient had been infectious since January 26. “In effect, for a short period of time, we are going back to what we experienced in March and April of last year,” McGowan added.

The Premier went on to say that it’s still unknown “how the security guard acquired the virus in the hotel” and that based on the current information, “it appears possible that this new positive case has the highly transmissible new UK variant.”

Fellow states – including NSW – have already announced restrictions on WA travellers, all of whom are required to go into immediate quarantine if they’ve already entered the state.

The news follows talks of the Trans-Tasman bubble, allowing travel between Australia and NZ without a mandatory 14 days hotel quarantine.