Western Australia has recorded two new cases of Covid-19, with both cases linked to the positive French tourist who sparked the latest outbreak as the premier admitted some close contacts can’t be reached.
One case is a close contact of the French backpacker who attended Northbridge’s Mess Hall venue at the same time.
The other is a backpacker who was not at the Mess Hall but who has been in contact with people who attended the event,
The first person initially tested negative last week.
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan said 704 close contacts of the backpacker had now been identified, with 50 people still to be tested.
‘Of these, 44 were at the Mess Hall event. WA Police advised that of the 44 contacts, 16 people are unlikely to be contacted due to false or misleading information they provided through the contact register or ticket sales,’ he said.
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan said 704 close contacts of the French backpacker had now been identified but 44 people were unlikely to be found for testing due to providing false information
Premier McGowan defended the measures put in place in light of the latest outbreak, which some WA businesses have claimed will destroy their New Year’s Eve revenues.
He flagged a financial support package for those businesses to be announced in coming days.
‘What we’ve tried to do is stop these large dance events where large groups, particularly backpackers, try and gather because they are high-risk events,’ Mr McGowan said.
The Covid rules in place until January 4 include the cancellation of large event, no dancing, except for weddings, masks indoors and seated service within hospitality.
‘The alternative was to shut down everything, and we didn’t want to do that, so we selected events that were high-risk events, like the Mess Hall event, to apply the rules,’ he said.
‘Having a low number of cases is good, and shows our measures have worked.’
Mr McGowan said Covid rules in place until January 4, including banning of large dance events, was designed to produce a repeat of the Mess Hall (pictured) outbreak
Mr McGowan said he expected the state to have eight million rapid antigen tests by February 5 when the WA border is due to reopen to the rest of the country.
Nevertheless, the requirement of a PCR test to enter the state would remain until that date, the premier said.
‘One of the advantages of waiting until the 5th of February is that we can wait and see what happens in other states,’ Mr McGowan said.
‘There are lots of attacks on us for waiting longer, but the upside of waiting longer is we can watch what has occurred in other states and hopefully learn from what they have done and put in place rules that will hold and work.’