City of 2M Locked Down After One COVID Case

Infected Perth resident worked in quarantine hotel
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2021 6:02 PM CST
City of 2M Locked Down After One COVID Case
Perth residents have been told they can only leave their homes for essential reasons including grocery shopping.   (Getty Images/NeoPhoto)

The state of Western Australia has recorded just nine deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began—and it is taking very tough measures to keep it that way. A strict five-day lockdown in Perth, Australia's fourth-largest city, was brought in Sunday after a single case was detected, reports Reuters. It was Australia's first known case of locally acquired infection in 14 days and Western Australia's first in almost 10 months. Officials say the infected person is a security guard at a hotel where returning travelers were being quarantined, including four who had tested positive. Authorities say the man, who tested positive Saturday evening, is infected with the British strain of the virus. Police say they are looking into how the worker became infected, but it's not a criminal investigation.

Western Australia is bigger than Texas and Alaska put together, but almost 80% of its people live in Perth, population 2 million. Authorities said Sunday that people are barred from leaving their homes from nonessential purposes until Friday and masks must be worn at all times outside the home. "I know for many Western Australians, this is going to come as a shock," said Mark McGowan, the state’s premier, per the New York Times. "We cannot forget how quickly this virus can spread, nor the devastation it can cause." No other infections have been detected. The security guard also worked as a rideshare driver, and McGowan is looking into increasing the pay of hotel quarantine workers to discourage them from working second jobs, 9News reports. (More Australia stories.)

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