Perth and Western Australia’s Covid restrictions and coronavirus lockdown rules explained | Australia news

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Nearly two million people across Perth and southern Western Australia are now under strict lockdown conditions after a quarantine hotel security guard tested positive for Covid-19.

Authorities are now trying to track down and isolate all close contacts and ensure everyone who may have come into contact with the worker – who travelled to a number of location across the area while infectious – is tested for Covid-19.

You can find a full list of potential infection sites here.

During the pandemic, WA has been notorious for imposing hard, long-lasting border restrictions on other Australian states that experience outbreaks, but now it seems the tables have turned. Every state and territory has now placed some form of border restrictions on residents from the regions in lockdown.

So what are the rules for those living Perth, and who can travel to and from the world’s most isolated city?

Which regions are in lockdown?

Three of WA’s nine regions are now in lockdown. There are the Perth metropolitan region, Peel (south of the city) and the south-west region below that.

Together these three regions account for nearly 80% of WA’s population and take in the cities of Perth, Rockingham and Bunbury.

The rest of the state remains unaffected.

How long will this last?

The lockdown is set to last for five days, ending on Friday 5 February at 6pm local time (9pm ADET).

On Sunday, the WA premier, Mark McGowan, indicated there would then be “a gradual scaledown” of restrictions after that.

“That is something we will take health advice on over the coming week,” he said.

But ultimately the length of the lockdown will depend on the test results of close contacts in the coming days when WA health authorities will gain an understanding of how far this outbreak has spread throughout the community.

Can I leave the lockdown area?

No, if you live in Perth, Peel or the south-west region you are not permitted to leave the lockdown area unless it is to deliver or receive essential healthcare, emergency services or other “essential requirements”.

Those outside the lockdown area are not allowed to enter.

If you are from another region in WA but were visiting affected areas at the time the lockdown came into effect, you are required to stay there until the end of the restriction period. But if you have to leave for “serious reasons” you must return to your home immediately, stay home for the lockdown period and get tested if symptoms develop.

When can I leave home?

In general terms, the Perth lockdown is a lot like the “stage four” lockdowns Melbourne experienced during the second wave (although there is no curfew in WA).

Essentially you must stay at home at all time unless for one of four “essential” reasons. These are:

  • Shopping for essentials, including food and medicine.

  • Accessing medical care and attending health clinics.

  • Exercise, within 5kms, for a maximum of one hour a day.

  • Work, only if you cannot do so from home.

Can I have guests at my house?

No, you cannot have any guests over to your home.

Guardian Australia is seeking clarification from WA Health on if this includes romantic partners, as exemptions were made for this earlier in the pandemic.

You are only allowed to visit a home or receive guests if this is for caring reasons, such as delivering groceries or helping someone take their medication.

You are also allowed to visit others’ homes in emergency situations.

When do I need to wear a mask?

You must wear a mask at all times while outside in the lockdown area. Masks must also be worn in the workplace and on public transport.

This can be a disposable surgical mask or fitted fabric mask. The WA Department of Health website states that scarves and bandanas are not considered suitable face coverings, but this was not specified in the official document outlining the rules of the Perth lockdown.

Am I allowed out to exercise?

Yes, you are allowed to exercise but you must do so in your local area and can only leave the house for a maximum of one hour a day.

On Monday police commissioner Chris Dawson confirmed that exercise must be within 5kms of one’s home.

“You can’t drive 20km to the beach and then exercise. You must only exercise within a 5km radius of where you live.”

On Tuesday the WA premier, Mark McGowan, announced changes to exercise rules in order to “assist families” by allowing parents with more than one child to exercise together.

You can exercise with a maximum of four other members of your household, as long as there’s no more than two adults – for example, one adult with up to four children from the same house, two adults with up to three children from the same house – and masks must be worn.

Playgrounds, skate parks and other outdoor recreational facilities will also be closed during the lockdown.

Can I eat at a restaurant, cafe or pub?

Restaurants and cafes are limited to takeaway services only.

Other venues such as pubs, bars and clubs must close.

What else is closed?

The majority of venues across Perth, Peel and the south-west have been ordered to close during the lockdown.

These include:

  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues.

  • Cinemas, entertainment venues and casinos.

  • Beauty therapy services including hairdressers, barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas and massage parlours.

  • Libraries and other cultural institutions.

What is happening to surgeries?

While emergency procedures and “category one procedures” will continue as normal, elective surgery and “category two and three procedures” will be suspended from Tuesday.

Can I visit someone in an aged care facility or hospital?

No, there are no visitors allowed in any hospital, aged cared home or disability facility during the five-day lockdown.

How many people can attend a wedding or funeral?

All weddings must be cancelled or postponed until after the lockdown period.

Funerals are now limited to 10 people.

Can I go to my place of worship?

No, all religious venues must close during the lockdown.

What’s happening to schools?

Schools were due to return for the start of term 1 on Monday, but will now remain closed. Rather than beginning remote learning, public schools have been instructed to extend summer holidays for an additional week.

Universities and Tafes have also been ordered to close.

Can I travel to other states?

A number of states have introduced strict border restrictions on regions in WA, but it’s important to note that regardless of other states’ restriction, the WA government has banned residents of the lockdown zone to leave the area.

The current travel restrictions are as follows:

NSW: While NSW isn’t technically closing its borders to WA, it is mimicking the same “stay-at-home” orders for those who arrive in the state from the affected regions during the lockdown.

That means anyone arriving in NSW or already in the state who has been in the lockdown area since 25 January must isolate at home until 9pm Friday 5 February. They must also get tested for Covid-19 within 48 hours, regardless of symptoms.

Anyone arriving in WA from NSW who has been to any of the potential exposure sites must isolate for 14 days.

It’s important to note that WA also has border restrictions with NSW. Travellers from the state are required to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in WA, despite NSW recording 15 days with no locally acquired cases.

Victoria: The state runs its travel restrictions on a “traffic light” system. Previously the entire WA was “green”, but as of Sunday, the regions of Perth, Peel and the south-west are now considered “red”.

This means those who have been in those areas since 25 January are not allowed to travel to Victoria without an exception, exemption or permitted worker permit. Those who attempt to enter Victoria illegally from a red zone will be fined up to $4,957 and must quarantine at home or at a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.

Those already in Victoria who have spent time in a red zone since 25 January must isolate, get tested and remain in their home until they receive a negative result.

The rest of the state remains “green”, meaning visitors must apply for a permit to enter Victoria but they are not required to isolate or get tested upon arrival unless they experience symptoms.

Queensland: Anyone from WA arriving in Queensland who has been in the lockdown region since 25 January is required to go into 14 days’ mandatory hotel quarantine, but Queensland Health notes “this timeframe may change as we receive more information about the WA outbreak”.

Those already in the state who have been in the lockdown zone since 25 January should contact authorities, get tested and isolate until they get a negative result.

South Australia: The borders between South Australia and the whole of WA were shut abruptly just after midnight on Sunday.

Western Australia is now defined as a prohibited location, meaning people are not permitted to enter South Australia unless they are considered “essential travellers”. There are exemptions for returning South Australian residents, people genuinely relocating to South Australia, and those escaping domestic violence.

Those already in South Australia who have been in any part of WA since 26 January must immediately self-isolate for 14 days (from Sunday 31 January) and get tested straight away, on day five and day 12.

People in SA who have been to the Four Points Hotel in Perth since 21 January, or are a close contact of someone who has, must call SA Health immediately and get information on where they should isolate for the next 14 days.

Tasmania: Those who have been in the three lockdown regions in WA will not be permitted to enter Tasmania without an exemption.

Those who are approved to enter, including returning Tasmanian residents, will have to quarantine at home or in a hotel for 14 days.

The 789 people who travelled from WA to Tasmania since 25 January are being contacted individually by health authorities and are being given instructions on if they are required to isolate and get tested on a case by case basis.

Everyone who recently travelled from WA has been urged to look at the list of potential exposure sites and if they have visited any of them at the specified time, isolate immediately and call the public health hotline.

Northern Territory: Perth, Peel and the south-west region have now been declared “hotspots” by the Northern Territory government.

Anyone travelling to the Northern Territory from a hotspot must enter into 14 days’ mandatory quarantine at a government-run facility at a cost of $2,500 per person.

Anyone who spent time in a declared hotspot and arrived in the territory after 25 January must immediately isolate, get tested for Covid-19 and remain at home until they receive a negative result.

ACT: Those who have spent time in the three affected regions in WA will no longer be allowed to enter the ACT unless they have applied for an exemption as a returning resident or an essential traveller.

Those already in the ACT who have spent time in the lockdown region since 25 January must isolate immediately and get tested for Covid-19. Even if they receive a negative result, they must remain in isolation until Friday 9pm.

WA politicians arriving in Canberra for the parliament sitting this week must fill out an application to be considered an essential worker. This will allow them to attend parliament and conduct essential work, but they must quarantine at all other times. This does not apply to their staff, who must isolate until Friday night.

  • Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is regularly updated to ensure it reflects the current situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will continue to be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Perth and Western Australia’s Covid restrictions and coronavirus lockdown rules explained | Australia news

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