WA COVID cases up by two, Omicron warning
Aaron Bunch |
Western Australian authorities have warned that Omicron could be in the Perth community after a hotel quarantine security guard tested positive for the virus a day ago.
It comes as two new COVID-19 cases were detected, which are likely to be linked to a growing Delta variant backpacker outbreak, Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson told reporters on Monday.
A 20-year old unvaccinated backpacker and his 24-year-old female housemate are the latest cases.
The pair are presumed to be linked to the community cluster that started when an infected French backpacker travelled to Perth from Queensland in early December.
If they are linked, it would take the total number of cases in the outbreak to 18, including the unvaccinated 25-year-old male index case.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen close contacts linked to an infected hotel quarantine site security guard who was working at the Pan Pacific have been identified.
The guard tested positive on Sunday with 11 contacts returning negative results, two pending and one person yet to be tested.
His case is not linked to the backpacker cluster.
“Investigations are ongoing as to how the infection occurred and at present there is no evidence to suggest any PPE breach on behalf of the guard,” Ms Sanderson said.
Genomic sequencing tests are expected to be completed on Tuesday.
Some guests at the hotel are infected with Omicron and there have been “minor” quarantine breaches at the hotel.
“We have to expect this could be the first line of Omicron in our community,” Ms Sanderson said.
An indoor mask mandate has been extended but health restrictions on gatherings and seated consumption will be lifted from 6am Tuesday.
Patrons at nightclubs, music festivals and large events will, however, have to show proof of vaccination and wear masks both indoors and outdoors.
The new rules will also apply to pubs and licensed venues with more than 500 patrons.
The mask mandate will be reviewed on Friday. It was previously scheduled to end on Tuesday.
Health authorities tested 3423 people for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
WA moved Tasmania and the ACT from medium-risk to high-risk classification under its COVID-19 border rules.
This means anyone entering WA from the two states must be fully vaccinated, take a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival and take another test on day 12 of their 14-day self-isolation.
They must also use the G2G Now app while in quarantine.
More than 92 per cent of eligible people in WA have received their first COVID-19 vaccination and more than 84 per cent are double dosed.AAP