#AceHealthReport – Feb.06: The coronavirus lockdown affecting Perth, Peel and the South West has ended: The only reason that could change was if local cases were recorded this afternoon,” Mr McGowan said:
#Coronavirus Report: ‘WA #COVID19 lockdown ends, Premier Mark McGowan unveils $43m package to help small businesses’ However, post-lockdown restrictions will continue to apply in the Perth and Peel regions until 12.01am on February 14.
ABC News: Updated: 5h ago
The lockdown began on Sunday evening after a security guard at the Four Points Sheraton quarantine hotel tested positive to the virulent UK strain of coronavirus: The South West region can go back to life as normal from 6pm when the lockdown lifts but a travel bubble will effectively exist around Perth and Peel until Sunday week: Those wanting to travel out of and into those regions can only do so for essential reasons, such as work or on compassionate grounds, and they will have to wear a a mask and apply for a G2G pass:
Mr McGowan said WA’s system had been tested by the guard’s infection and had proven it was able to “very rapidly … scale up when we needed to”.
“Our contact tracing system has worked effectively and our surge capacity in our testing has worked magnificently well,” he said.
Mr McGowan said some in the community wanted the Government to have a clear, step-by-step guide for what might happen in the event of any future infections or outbreaks, but that was not realistic.
“We are dealing with these dangerous, virulent, strains of the virus that are mutating and seem to be highly transmissible,” he said.
Businesses get $500 help for electricity
In another announcement, the Government said eligible businesses and charities would be able to access a $500 offset on their electricity bill under a $43 million package.
“I understand many small businesses have been hit this week and this next week will still be difficult with our transitional restrictions,” Mr McGowan said.
It is anticipated the offset will be available to about 85,000 Synergy and Horizon customers and would provide up to two months of bill relief on average.
But WA Opposition leader Zak Kirkup said the Government’s compensation offer for business and charities was not enough.
“Western Australian small businesses deserve better than what this government has announced … a $500 credit simply doesn’t go far enough and doesn’t give the businesses here the support that they deserve,” Mr Kirkup said.
He said the Government should offer up to $10,000 support for individual businesses impacted by the lockdown.
Australian Hotels Association (AHA) WA chief executive Bradley Woods estimated business across the lockdown zone had taken a major hit during a “very difficult week”.
“We estimate over $100 million revenue and sales has been lost as a result of this shutdown … which is a tremendous amount of wages, lost earnings and for a lot of businesses at this time of year, it was the last thing they needed,” Mr Woods said.
Jason Credaro, head brewer at Busselton’s Shelter Brewing Co said the venue had offered patrons takeaway options but also used the five-day lockdown to train staff and perform maintenance on the newly-opened establishment.
That aside, Mr Credaro said they were “ready to open at 6pm” with “a lot of enquiries”— a reassuring sign patrons were keen to again enjoy the luxury of eating out.
“It has been a tough week and it definitely hurt us, but we are keen to get the doors open again as there is still plenty of summer left,” Mr Credaro said.LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quarantine security guards to be banned from second jobs
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said arrangements to stop hotel quarantine security guards working a second job had been finalised and would in place early next week.
Although, he did not have details about whether the rule would apply to all hotel quarantine staff.
Mr McGowan said Western Australians had “risen to the challenge” during the lockdown.
“The sacrifices made this week, the commitment by everyone to do the right thing, has been incredible,” Mr McGowan said.
Meanwhile the plan to increase WA’s international flight arrival cap from 512 per week has been delayed until the end of February following a national cabinet meeting this morning.
“This will give us that extra time to ensure our hotel quarantine systems are as strong as they can be, especially when dealing with these new, highly contagious, variant strains,” Mr McGowan said.
Everyone the ABC spoke to at Hyde Park were happy to wear a mask including Mallory Haseler who said it was “worth it just to be on the safe side”.
In Busselton, local Anna Heifetz said the impact of the short-term restrictions paled in comparison to residents dealing with devastating bushfires and other countries facing longer lockdowns.
Ms Heifetz said she’d embraced the concept of mask-wearing and cut quite the colourful figure amid a sea of surgical masks.
“My friend made it for me so you may as well have fun with it and try to look fab while keeping everybody safe,” she said.
Check-ins with SafeWA app top one million
Mr Cook said using the SafeWA app to check in to venues, now also mandatory at retail venues such as supermarkets, would be vital.
Mr Cook said despite the lockdown, there had been a record of more than one million check-ins on Thursday—1,060,240 to be exact.
He said even if a new case was identified today, it would likely be someone already in isolation as a close or casual contact linked to the infected security guard and therefore they would not pose a significant public health risk.
Mr McGowan urged West Australians to get back into the community after 6pm this evening to support business crippled by the snap lockdown.
“Keep COVID-19 safe when you do, remember to wear a mask and check in on Safe WA or the contact register, wash your hands and try to keep a distance between others.”
#AceHealthDesk report ………..Published: Feb.06: 2021:
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