WA records new historical coronavirus case, as people urged to get out and support local venues

WA records new historical coronavirus case, as people urged to get out and support local venues

Western Australia recorded another historical case of COVID-19 on Sunday after testing revealed a Perth woman in her 30’s had the infection in March, but the virus was no longer active and posed no risk.

Key points:

  • There have now been three historical COVID-19 cases detected in WA
  • Restaurants, bars and cafes can reopen from Monday, with a limit on patron numbers
  • There were no new COVID-19 cases in WA overnight, leaving just five active cases

The woman had been a close contact of a person confirmed to have COVID-19 and was tested after developing symptoms.

But that test came back as “equivocal”, meaning at the time the result was not conclusive enough to confirm a positive result.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said the woman was already undergoing two weeks of mandatory isolation at the time, and the Health Department undertook contact tracing as if she had been a confirmed case.

Mr Cook said her infection was confirmed after PathWest technicians retested a number of samples.

“Nothing is normal about this virus, we are continually learning more about it,” he said.

Roger Cook wears a blue, white and red checked shirt under a black sweater and smiles

Health Minister Roger Cook says there is still a lot to learn about COVID-19.(ABC News: James Carmody)

“If the same test result was issued by the lab today, the equivocal result would not have counted because of all the validation that the lab continues to do and the increased confidence that we have around the test results.”

Yesterday, there were two other historical COVID-19 infections detected in Perth women who had the virus six weeks ago, but had since recovered.

They were detected after antibodies of the virus were detected in recent blood tests they provided.

One of those women had been a passenger on a cruise ship and the other had been a close contact of a confirmed case.

WA has recorded 557 cases of COVID-19, five of which remain active.

People queue before a woman in a mask and medical scrubs holding a tablet. A sign says COVID Clinic.

People queue outside a COVID Clinic at Royal Perth Hospital. 2 April, 2020.(ABC News: James Carmody)

There is one person in hospital, and one of the active cases is from a regional area.

On Saturday, 351 people had swab tests at COVID clinics around the state.

Small businesses have ‘done it tough’

From Monday, West Australians will be allowed to gather in groups of up to 20, while restaurants, cafes and bars will be allowed to offer dine-in services to up to 20 guests.

Environmental health officers, who usually monitor the hygiene of venues in WA, will also now be tasked with ensuring coronavirus restrictions are being adhered to.

But the Government has said the rules are based more on a consent model that will require the public to do the right thing.

“We’re asking that businesses and patrons also play their part in minimising the potential spread of COVID-19 as they prepare to reopen,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

“Our small businesses have been through a lot, they’ve done it tough over the last few months, it hasn’t been easy, and for me making these decisions has not been easy either.

“But I know there is pent-up demand and lots of local customers willing to get out there and support their local businesses, and from tomorrow people can.”

The Premier’s media conference was held at the Pink Duck, a bar and bistro on the Rockingham foreshore.

“From tomorrow, one of the best things we can do is support each other through this pandemic and return to our favourite local cafe or restaurant, and resume our sport and recreation as well, and help get businesses back to work and back into operations,” Mr McGowan said.


Also from Monday, non-contact community sport will be allowed to resume, and public pools, libraries and places of worship can reopen for a maximum of 20 people under strict social distancing requirements.

A number of the restrictions on travel between the state’s regions will also be relaxed.

Diners will be asked to give contact details

The Minister for Tourism and Small Business, Paul Papalia, urged people to make reservations ahead of time at their favourite venues because he hoped they would be busy.

Mr Papalia also urged anyone going out for a meal to look for the business’s certificate confirming they had completed compulsory hygiene training.

“I would ask everyone when you are going to your venue to look for the COVID Safety Plan Certificate — it actually provides you with the promise of safety,” he said.

“It tells you the number of people that can be seated in that venue, it confirms that they’ve done the necessary training, that they are conducting the necessary hygiene practices and they are ready to accept you in a safe manner.”

Glasses of alcohol on a bar.

Venues will need to complete hygiene training before opening their doors to customers.(ABC: Xavier La Canna)

Mr Papalia said diners needed to be prepared to provide venues with their contact details, which was a requirement at any establishment reopening.

“Can I ask that everybody, when you are going to hospitality venues, that you are polite and friendly when the staff ask you for your contact details,” he said.

“The contact details are necessary so that if there is an outbreak we can trace everyone and provide safety for all of you.”

There have so far been at least 52,000 registrations for the AHA COVID-19 Hospitality and Hygiene Safety Course, and more than 44,000 people have completed it.

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