Western Australian authorities remain unsure whether the state’s five-day lockdown will end as scheduled as they continue to investigate how the hotel quarantine security guard who triggered the lockdown contracted the CCP virus.
The guard at the Sheraton Four Points in Perth CBD, who has been confirmed to have the highly transmissible UK strain, attended 16 venues over several days while infected.
Consequently, two million Western Australians from Perth, the Peel region, and the South West have been plunged into a strict lockdown scheduled to finish on Feb. 5.
Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said on Tuesday that authorities are continuing to monitor the situation.
“The fact that we have had zero cases, two days in a row, particularly given the extensiveness of testing, is encouraging. We are going to continue to monitor the situation,” he said.
Health authorities expect most of the hotel guard’s 11 close contacts, including his three housemates will have been retested by Wednesday, giving clarity to the fate of the state.
“If they’re still coming up as negative, that would be a good sign that this person wasn’t a particularly effective spreader,” WA’s chief health officer Andy Robertson told the AAP.
“And that is what we’re not quite sure on.”
President of the Australian Medical Association WA branch Andrew Miller said it was a coin toss as to whether a lockdown extension would be required.
“We’re hoping for doughnut days throughout the week—all zeroes—and then perhaps that will be enough,” Miller said.
“But we will know by then whether we’re looking at a cluster or clusters which will require a longer period of time because we know that each cluster usually generates about three weeks worth of cases before it is able to be shut down.”
WA has detected no new local cases of the CCP virus after a testing surge on Monday.
For five days, the WA government has ordered people in the lockdown region to stay at home unless shopping for essentials, attending to medical or healthcare needs, exercising within their neighbourhood, or working if unable to do so remotely. Schools, restaurants, gyms, and bars are all closed.