Perth has been effectively cut off from New Zealand and much of Australia as health authorities across two states rush to trace a hotel quarantine COVID-19 cluster.
New Zealand, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory closed their borders to anyone from the Western Australia capital on Friday night and NSW health authorities are quizzing travellers on arrival.
WA’s acting Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Armstrong, said it was likely the man was infected in hotel quarantine, before being released on April 17 and flying to Melbourne on April 21.
He was in an adjacent room on the same Mercure Hotel floor where it was revealed earlier in the week that the coronavirus had spread between guests in two separate rooms.
“Whole genome sequencing is being carried out to determine the strain and potential source of his infection,” he said.
“However, it is likely he acquired the infection while at the hotel.”
There were reports panic buying began even before WA Premier Mark McGowan announced the lockdown.
Queensland, Victoria,Tasmania, NT and NZ shut borders
From Saturday, only local residents will be allowed to fly from Perth or Peel into Queensland or Victoria and any new arrivals must quarantine for 14 days, while even residents need a special exemption to enter Tasmania.
The Northern Territory doesn’t differentiate between residents and non-residents but all arrivals must enter mandatory supervised quarantine.
Queensland arrivals must go straight into hotel quarantine while Victorians returning to their home state from Perth can quarantine at home.
Anyone in Queensland, Victoria or the Northern Territory who was in Perth or Peel on April 17 or later must get tested and self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.
Those already in Tasmania who visited an exposure site in Perth or Peel should contact Tasmanian health authorities.
Anyone who was in Melbourne Airport terminal one from 6.30-7.30pm on Wednesday must isolate until they get a negative result.
Sydney arrivals scanned for exposure
In NSW, anyone arriving from Perth or Peel is subject to the same stay-at-home directions they would have faced if they were still at home in WA.
Recent arrivals from Perth in Queensland face the same restrictions, even if they tested negative.
South Australia and the ACT were yet to update travel advice online late on Friday.
“I encourage everyone to take part in the driveway dawn service again this year, and I will do that again,” Premier Mark McGowan said.
The new measures have also had a big impact on national sporting competitions.
The West Coast Eagles had already arrived in Victoria for their clash with Geelong, which is still going ahead, and had reportedly been cleared to return to WA afterwards.
It’s unclear what the lockdown means for the Queensland Reds’ return home or Perth Glory’s match scheduled for Sunday in Brisbane.