One more WA backpacker-linked COVID case

Aaron Bunch |

Western Australia has detected one new local COVID-19 case linked to an infected French backpacker who travelled from Queensland.

The new case is a close contact of another recent infection and is in hotel quarantine, WA Health said on Friday.

The latest diagnosis takes the total number cases linked to the so-called ‘backpacker outbreak’ to 14, and includes the unvaccinated 25-year-old index case. 

Many of the cases went to a busy Perth Mess Hall dance party with about 400 other people on December 19, many from the traveller community.

More than 700 close contacts have been identified with 24 yet to be tested as police struggle to track down some backpackers who are thought to have left WA or are avoiding testing.

Four infections among returned travellers have also been reported and they are also quarantined.

Premier Mark McGowan on Thursday announced that the new national definitions for close contacts, and recommendations for isolation periods and testing would not be applied until WA opened its borders on February 5.

WA has also again tightened border rules for travellers from Queensland and South Australia due to growing cases in both states.

Travellers will not be permitted into WA except for Commonwealth and state officials, members of parliament, diplomats, and people who perform specialist roles.