McGowan Defends Snap WA Virus Lockdown | Liverpool City Champion
Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan has defended the imposition of an instant coronavirus lockdown that would cost the local economy around $ 70 million.
No new locally acquired cases were reported on Tuesday as Perth and the region of Peel emerged from the three-day lockdown.
The state has recorded four new infections among travelers returning from hotel quarantine.
Interim restrictions remain in place in WA until 12:01 a.m. on Saturdays, including mandatory wearing of face masks and limits on gatherings.
Some host institutions have chosen to remain closed until restrictions are relaxed, with early Treasury estimates suggesting an impact of $ 70 million on the economy.
“Obviously, if we were to go into a long-term lockdown, if we had the community spread, the cost would be many, billions and tens of thousands of jobs,” McGowan told reporters.
“It was the choice we were faced with.
“I know there is a lot of anger about the lockdowns, especially among some of the media commentators in the east and in some sections of the community. But the alternative, where the virus is rioting … is unthinkable. “
Two locally acquired infections were discovered from more than 37,000 tests after the virus leaked out of Perth’s Mercure quarantine hotel.
The WA health department was aware of the Mercury ventilation issues but believed the risk could be mitigated.
The outbreak has renewed concerns about quarantine in hotels and prompted the federal government to invest in purpose-built facilities.
Mr McGowan said nothing was preventing the Commonwealth from removing deportees from Christmas Island so that it could be used as a quarantine facility.
“They can obviously send them back to the prison they were in, and they can transfer them to any of the mainland’s secure establishments if they wish,” he said.
“I think they need a little more thinking, a little more flexibility and a little more effort to help find solutions to this problem.”
All direct passenger flights to Australia from India are suspended until May 15, as the subcontinent giant faces a growing coronavirus disaster.
McGowan had urged the federal government to implement such an initiative, describing India as “the epicenter of death and destruction.”
The guest from Mercury whose infection led to the epidemic had obtained an exemption to travel to India last December to get married.
He and his wife tested positive in quarantine in hotels upon their return to Australia earlier this month.
Genomic tests confirmed the virus had spread from the couple to several other guests in adjoining rooms, including a man from Melbourne who only tested positive after completing quarantine and spending five days in the community .
He then infected two other people.
Authorities identified 368 close contacts of confirmed cases and 255 returned negative test results on Tuesday.
WA’s cap on international arrivals will be cut in half to 512 per week for the next month, with McGowan not ruling out extending the reduction.
Australian Associated Press