West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has announced he wants to avoid another lockdown at all costs after a hotel quarantine guard tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday. Instead he introduced a slate of new restrictions.
"We cannot underestimate this virus. We cannot be complacent. We need to follow the health advice. We need people to get tested. And we need everyone to keep wearing your masks," McGowan told reporters.
"I want to avoid going into lockdown again. I know how much it can impact people's lives and businesses but if we need to go back into lockdown we will.
"That decision will be based on the latest health advice but at this point in time, we can avoid a lockdown, purely based on the restrictions in place over the past weeks and the requirement people have to wear masks. It has significantly reduced the risk of transmission."
To "protect the West Australian community", the Premier said they'd decided not to permit spectators at the AFL Derby at Optus Stadium this afternoon.
Nightclubs will also be closed immediately in WA "in addition to the no-crowd decision".
Two Air NZ flights flights that were due to take off from Perth and land in Auckland this morning were cancelled overnight in response to the Perth MIQ case.
"The Ministry of Health carried out a rapid public health assessment on the impact for New Zealand last night and, after working with airlines, all direct passenger flights from Perth to New Zealand were paused," the ministry said today.
Asked if WA could "still be headed" for a lockdown this week, McGowan said "it is a prospect".
"But what has saved us from having a lockdown immediately is when these people were in the community, we were in a state of semi-lockdown, everyone was wearing masks, and we had a very quiet society," he said.
"And that has avoided it at this point in time. Had what happened in the past couple of days occurred three weeks ago, we would have gone into lockdown immediately. But the situation was somewhat different because we are already in a very precautionary state across Perth and Peel region."
The infected security guard, a man in his 20s, had already had his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, McGowan said.
He had worked in the Pan Pacific Hotel on April 24, 25 and 26, when new arrivals were admitted to the hotel, and worked on the same floor as two returned travellers who had tested positive.
"CCTV vision is being reviewed, however there is no clear explanation at this point as to how the security guard could have been infected," the Premier said.
"It is possible transmission could have occurred while the international arrivals were admitted into hotel quarantine and possibly were transferred to their rooms. This is being investigated further."
The potential for a second lockdown comes not even a week after the Perth and Peel regions were sent into a three-day circuit breaker over the Anzac Day long weekend, following a breach in the WA capital's hotel quarantine system.
McGowan has defended the circuit breaker – brought on by just two cases – saying he didn't want to "see what happened in America or Britain or India or Brazil happen here".
"There's two places in the world, countries of significant size that have avoided that, and that's New Zealand and Australia. And that's basically because we have used our isolation, our borders and our measures using our public health initiatives to good effect and I want that to continue."
Brisbane Airport green zone breach update
At today's Covid update, NZ's Ministry of Health said 397 passengers were aboard three flights that left Brisbane International Airport for New Zealand after a green-zone breach at Brisbane Airport on Thursday.
"All but two of those people have now been contacted and asked to check the Queensland Government website for locations of interest. Attempts to contact the remaining two are continuing today," the ministry said.
So far, 27 people had been in touch with Healthline to say they were in the locations of interest at the relevant time. "Those people are considered casual plus contacts and have been asked to self-isolate and get tested five days after their exposure."
The remaining passengers who weren't at the locations of interest are advised to monitor their health and, if symptoms develop, call Healthline and get a test.
The risk continues to be assessed as low, the ministry said.
Covid cases in NZ today
There are four new Covid cases in MIQ and no new community cases today.
"There is also one new historical case to report. Historical cases are not considered to be infectious," the Ministry of Health said.
The historical case is a person who arrived from Japan.
Four previously reported cases have recovered, meaning the total number of active cases in New Zealand today is 24.
Unvaccinated border workers sacked
It was confirmed today nine NZ Customs workers had been sacked for refusing the Covid-19 vaccine, including four from a single provincial port.
Their contracts were terminated after Customs was unable to find a suitable alternative role for the workers.
New Zealand's Covid-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order came into force at 11.59pm on Friday, April 30, and requires all workers in MIQ facilities and those who work for Government agencies at the border to be vaccinated.