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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Ripple effect of WA lockdown: senators, visitors and residents enter quarantine in ACT

Another round of self-quarantine rolls on today, with anyone in the ACT who visited the Perth metropolitan area, or the Peel and South West regions of Western Australia since Monday 25 January asked to stay home and get tested for COVID-19.

ACT Health’s announcement last night came in response to news that those three areas in WA were ordered into a five-day lockdown from 6pm Sunday 31 January, after a hotel quarantine security guard tested positive for coronavirus.

So far, there are 15 locations in WA that have been visited by a confirmed case since 25 January, including supermarkets, petrol stations, a car dealership, a GP surgery and a site at Edith Cowan University, according to the WA Department of Health’s website.

ACT Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Vanessa Johnston said the five-day length of self-quarantine in the ACT was consistent with the lockdown in WA.

“In line with the WA Government’s own lockdown we are saying that anyone who has been to one of these regions since 25 January should quarantine until 9pm on Friday 5 February, even after they have received their test results,” she said.

This decision affected a Qantas flight with WA senators on board that landed in Canberra yesterday evening.

ACT Health mandated all passengers head directly to their accommodation with a mask on, and minimise interactions with other people, before getting tested for COVID-19 today.

The ABC reported at least nine politicians were on the flight, having travelled to Canberra ahead of the first sitting of Parliament, scheduled to commence tomorrow.

Various politicians participated in parliamentary proceedings via video link in 2020, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison after his trip to Japan.

Dr Johnston discouraged visitors from WA from boarding flights to the national capital.

“We are also asking that non-ACT residents who are in Western Australia to not travel to the ACT at this time,” Dr Johnston said.

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