Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has revealed there will be no new lockdown in the state but confirmed crowds will not be allowed to attend today’s blockbuster AFL derby.
West Coast and Fremantle are scheduled to play this afternoon but because McGowan is introducing a raft of new restrictions following a recent COVID-19 outbreak, spectators are prevented from watching the action live at Perth’s Optus Stadium.
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Perth recorded three new positive cases on Saturday, with a security guard contracting COVID-19 in hotel quarantine, and spreading the virus to two of his housemates.
The security guard, a man in his twenties, had already had his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. He worked in the Pan Pacific Hotel on April 24, 25 and 26, during which time new arrivals were admitted to the hotel, and worked on the same floor as two returned travellers who had tested positive.
On Sunday, McGowan said there were no new cases to report, confirming the state will not go into another snap lockdown. However, he is altering Perth’s virus restrictions to prevent anybody going to the footy, because the expected crowd of 45,000 would put too much of a strain on contact tracers.
“I understand people will be disappointed, some people will be frustrated,” McGowan said. “But the decision has been made on health advice and we have tried to communicate this as quickly as possible.
“The game will still go on and of course people can watch it from their own homes. The decision to have no crowd at the stadium also helps us in preventing possible transmission on public transport.
“Having 45,000 people in the same location and all of the crushing getting into the stadium — we judged it was too high risk.
“It’s a tough decision. I know a lot of people love the derby. It’s a great spectacle.”
It’s a bitter pill for footy fans to swallow.Source:Getty Images
West Coast and Fremantle were quick to post the update on their social media channels.
“It’s going to be weird, but we’ll feel your support from home,” the Dockers said.
The Eagles wrote: “Like you, we are disappointed that our members won’t be able to attend the match today; however, your safety and that of your family is paramount.”
AFL journalist Jon Ralph tweeted: “Oh boy. No crowd at all for the Western Derby. Eagles will take a massive financial hit.
“They can afford it but McGowan has ruled it out as he deals with the latest COVID cases.”
As part of the tightened restrictions, nightclubs will also be closed and McGowan left the door open for another lockdown later this week if circumstances change.
“What has saved us from having a lockdown immediately is during the course of this week, last week, when these people (who tested positive) 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 last couple of days occurred three weeks ago, we would have gone into lockdown immediately. But the situation was somewhat different because of the fact we are already in a very precautionary state across Perth and Peel region.”
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.
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