Hotel worker in quarantine zone infected as hundreds remain under coronavirus observation

Key points:

  • The man was a contact of someone who was in quarantine at the hotel
  • The Premier says it is a reminder WA is “not out of the woods yet”
  • Rottnest Island is set to stay a quarantine facility for arrivals in WA

Western Australia has recorded one new case of coronavirus overnight, as a group of more than 200 people quarantined for a fortnight on Rottnest Island prepare to return home.

The new case, a 47-year-old man, had been working at the Pan Pacific Hotel, one of about eight hotels where people arriving in WA have been quarantining.

While he was working at the hotel as part of its quarantine operation, he was not a Pan Pacific employee.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the man was a contact of someone who was in quarantine at the hotel and contact tracing was underway.

He said it served as an important reminder how “extremely contagious” coronavirus was.

“You’re never going to know where there’s going to be someone acquire the illness, which I think perhaps explains to everyone why we’re being cautious,” he said.

“We do need to continue to treat the issue seriously and I think this case arising, in an environment where we have had a number of days of zero cases, reminds us we’re not out of the woods yet.”

Four people remain in metropolitan hospitals with COVID-19, with one of them in intensive care.

Rottnest to remain as COVID-19 quarantine zone

Mr McGowan said the group of people who arrived in Perth on a flight from South Africa almost two weeks ago would be leaving Rottnest Island tomorrow after their 14-day quarantine period came to an end.

A man and a woman with a suitcase and a luggage trolley and a child on the man's back walk outside Perth Airport.

The group of more than 200 people landed in Perth on a flight which started in Johannesburg. (ABC News: James Carmody)

“I expect there will be an operation to bring them back to shore tomorrow,” he said.

Mr McGowan said the island would continue to serve as a quarantine facility “should we need it”.

“People continue to arrive from overseas,” Mr McGowan said.

When we can reopen Rottnest we will, it may be some time away.

“But I think having an island of our own, which can double as a quarantine facility is a good thing … WA is lucky.”

School attendance returning to normal

Mr McGowan said public school attendance at the start of the week was the highest it had been since term two began.

A boy carrying a green backpack arrives at primary school.

It remains unclear whether mandatory school attendance will return from next week. (ABC News: Evelyn Manfield)

“On average across WA [on Monday], we had 82 per cent attendance for public schools,” he said.

“Ordinarily across the state, we get between 85 and 90 per cent attendance, so we’ve really got schools back nearly to their normal load of students.

Parents, students and teaching staff indeed have voted with their feet to go back to school.

The school model implemented at the beginning of the term will be reviewed over the coming days, before any changes are made for the start of week four.

The Premier said consultation with schools, staff, parents and unions would help to inform any changes, but would not say whether that would include mandatory attendance.

“I don’t want to pre-empt the consultation, so we’re consulting with the workforce and parents groups and the likes … with the view of making an announcement later this week,” he said.

Capital works vital to economic recovery: Premier

Mr McGowan was speaking after touring a local crane company in Bassendean, Eilbeck Cranes, where four gantry cranes are being built for the Metronet railcar local manufacturing facility.

A Mark McGowan at a press conference wearing a blue suit and orange tie.

Mark McGowan did not indicate whether school attendance would again be made mandatory. (ABC News: Robert Koenig-Luck)

He said the WA Government continued to award local businesses infrastructure projects to help kickstart the economy and support the state’s post-pandemic recovery.

“Part of our economic recovery of course, is capital works,” he said.

“To bring forward as many capital works as possible … we’re building a new railcar manufacturing facility using local businesses and local workers.”

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