MELBOURNE – Western Australia state recorded one new locally acquired coronavirus case on Saturday, as more than 2 million people in the state began a three-day snap lockdown after a COVID-19 outbreak in a hotel quarantine led to community transmission.

The lockdown was ordered after a returning traveller who tested negative on release from a Perth quarantine hotel later tested positive for COVID-19, with authorities suspecting he became infected while in the hotel.

The latest case increased the outbreak to three confirmed infections, although contact tracing and testing were still underway.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan called on the national government to establish designated quarantine facilities after the latest leakage of the virus from hotel quarantine.

“I have been calling for the commonwealth’s assistance with quarantine for many months now,” McGowan said.

McGowan said that while the hotel quarantine system has largely worked, with tens of thousands of travellers passing through it, the national government must find new facilities outside crowded downtown locations.

“(Downtown) hotels are not fit for purpose quarantine facilities, and quarantine is the responsibility of the commonwealth government under the constitution,” McGowan said.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) on Saturday also urged a review of the hotel quarantine system to prevent further outbreaks.

“There are still holes that can be plugged,” Omar Khorshid, AMA’s president told the ABC national broadcaster.

There have been several virus leaks from hotel quarantine in recent months in Western Australia and other states, leading to short lockdowns or stricter social distancing orders.

Categories: COVID-19


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