WA relaxes mask mandate, Omicron spreads
Aaron Bunch |
The first Western Australian locally acquired Omicron case has been recorded after an infected quarantine facility worker spread the virus to a housemate.
It comes as authorities ease a face mask mandate from 6pm on Friday in most public indoor venues and at some major outdoor events.
Masks will now only be required in hospitals, aged care and disability facilities and on public transport, including taxis and ride share vehicles.
The Perth Hyatt Hotel security guard tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday with WA Health reporting his housemate’s case a day later.
Genomic sequencing results confirmed the pair were infected with the new variant.
“It means his household contact is the first locally acquired transmission case of Omicron in the community,” Acting Premier Roger Cook told reporters on Friday.
Mr Cook said the men were unlikely to have been infectious in the community for a long period.
Authorities continue to investigate how the guard who was not working on a hotel floor with quarantined guests caught the virus.
“This particular security guard had a concierge role in the lobby area. At this stage, there is nothing to suggest the guard was doing anything wrong,” Mr Cook said.
Meanwhile, WA hotel quarantine rules have also been relaxed.
Fully vaccinated travellers who return negative test results on days one, five and 11 will now be released on day 12 to complete their 14 days’ isolation at home or another suitable premises.
“This will slightly reduce the burden on our quarantine system without any public health risk,” Mr Cook said.
No new locally acquired COVID-19 cases were detected in the last 24 hour reporting period.
It means no new local cases from the 21-case Delta outbreak, which was sparked by an unvaccinated 25-year-old backpacker who travelled from Queensland in early December.
Six infections were recorded among travellers. Three were from interstate and three were international arrivals. All are in quarantine.
More than 93 per cent of people in WA aged over 12 have received their first COVID-19 vaccination and almost 90 per cent are double dosed.AAP