Australia: confinement in Perth after a first case of Covid in 10 months

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A five-day lockdown will begin Sunday in Perth due to the discovery of the first case of local transmission of the coronavirus in 10 months in this Australian city, authorities said.

About two million people in Perth and the neighboring regions of Peel and the South West will have to stay in their homes as of Sunday evening.

The return to school scheduled for Monday has been postponed. Residents can only leave their homes if their work is “essential”, to run errands, play sports or go to the doctor.

This confinement was decided due to the detection of the first case of local transmission of the coronavirus in 10 months in the state of Western Australia, authorities said.

“Our policy is that of a rapid and firm response (…) in order to regain control of the situation and not to witness the development of outbreaks of infection as we have seen elsewhere in the world”, declared the Premier Mark McGowan.

The infected person is a security guard working in a hotel hosting quarantines. Authorities believe he was contaminated by a traveler in quarantine.

This traveler probably has the variant that appeared in Britain, which scientists say is more contagious. Tests are underway to identify the source of this infection, and to determine the places where this security agent went.

Cafés, bars and restaurants are closed, and all weddings are canceled.

“What we want is a period of disruption for a limited time, rather than a long period,” said McGowan. “We are trying to get rid of the virus as quickly as possible.”

Western Australia’s borders have been closed for most of 2020, so the state has cut itself off from the rest of Australia, but it has allowed its people to lead near-normal lives.

Australia has been relatively effective against the pandemic, which has infected less than 29,000 people. A total of 909 deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus.

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