Western Australia’s capital, Perth, has rushed to freeze the spread of a growing CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus cluster, slapping down new lockdown measures at midnight on Monday after recording a second case of the highly transmissible Delta strain.
The case prompted the WA Government to rapidly escalate restrictions to a minimum 4-day lockdown after the case was confirmed to be linked to a growing New South Wales (NSW) outbreak.
Concerns regarding the NSW cluster’s spread has intensified after a spike in cases saw the state become Australia’s most infected.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said the immediate imposition of drastic measures was warranted given the Delta’s strain’s infectious nature.
“We now know we are dealing with the highly infectious and dangerous Delta strain, which is a new beast that has entered WA,” McGowan said in a media release.
“Escalating to an immediate lockdown will help us break the circuit and give contact tracers an opportunity to track and trace so we can get on top of this situation sooner.”
Full lockdown requirements in Perth are now in place, with travel limited to only shopping for essentials, attending medical or health care needs, exercising (for at most an hour a day), or to be vaccinated. While universities are closed, schools generally remain open.
The McGowan government had previously received heavy criticism for triggering lockdowns despite only having cases in the single digits, which in turn resulted in economic losses for WA businesses reaching in the hundreds of millions. This lockdown makes it the third for the state this year.
McGowan defended the measures as necessary to avoid potentially more significant consequences.
“I acknowledge lockdowns are frustrating, but they are a necessary response to the threat we face,” McGowan said.
“I am asking everyone to please do the right thing here and follow the health advice and instructions we are putting in place.