Western Australia reports zero COVID-19 cases, lockdown fears ease

Western Australia reports zero COVID-19 cases, lockdown fears ease

People wait in line to be tested for Covid-19 at Royal Perth Hospital in Perth on January 31, 2021
People wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 at Royal Perth Hospital on Jan 31, 2021. (File photo: AFP)

PERTH: The state of Western Australia reported no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases for the second straight day on Monday (May 3), allaying fears of a second lockdown in two weeks after three new coronavirus cases were detected over the weekend.

The fresh cases forced officials to ban crowds at an Australian rules football match on Sunday and shut nightclubs until the end of this week in state capital Perth, which had emerged just days ago from a snap lockdown over a single COVID-19 case.

"We will review over the course of the coming day, particularly in light of test results, how things are going (and) as to whether or not we can expire some of those restrictions at that point in time," state Premier Mark McGowan told reporters in Perth.

State authorities on Saturday had flagged the possibility of a hard lockdown in Perth, Australia's fourth-largest city, after a hotel quarantine security guard and two of his housemates tested positive for COVID-19.

Though no stay-at-home orders were issued, people were asked to wear masks when they step outside of their homes.

READ: Australia bans arrivals from India, citizens and residents who fly home face jail and fines

READ: Perth to exit COVID-19 lockdown

Snap lockdowns, border closures and speedy tracking systems have helped Australia to keep its COVID-19 numbers relatively low, with just over 29,800 cases and 910 deaths.

Last week, Australia banned all travellers coming from India from entering the country, including Australian citizens and permanent residents, following a massive surge in cases in the world's second-most populous country. Offenders will face hefty fines and even up to five years in jail.

Direct flights from India have been halted until May 15.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the travel rules will be constantly reviewed and that repatriation flights from India will be restored as soon as it was safe to bring people back home.

"We will do it this week, we will do it the following week. This only needs to be there in place for as long as it needs to be there to keep Australians safe," Morrison told local radio station 2GB on Monday.

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Source: Reuters/kg