WA has recorded one new case of Covid-19 after an infected truck driver from NSW travelled into the state – sparking fears for Saturday’s AFL Grand Final.
In a snap media conference on Wednesday afternoon, Health Minister Roger Cook said the truck driver tested negative on September 13, travelled into Western Australia on the 16th of September and left on the 17th.
The driver tested positive after undergoing a test on September 19, while their co-driver returned a negative test.
The two drivers travelled through South Australia where the man was infectious at various stops since September 15, with chief health officer Nicola Spurrier particularly concerned about the men’s shower block at Caltex in the remote town of Penong in the state’s west.
The case was at this location last Wednesday from 9.30pm to 11.20pm and again on Saturday from 3.30pm to 5.30pm, while they also stopped at Port Augusta, Direk and Wudina.
They then travelled to WA and stopped at Coolgardie, Southern Cross and Northam in the regions on their way into the state before arriving in Kewdale in Perth.
They also stopped at Chidlow, again at Southern Cross and Balladonia on their way back to the east.
The infected driver has had one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, while the vaccination status of the second driver is still under investigation.
Mr Cook warned the details surrounding the case could change as contact tracers frantically worked to confirm the information.
He said the drivers had minimal contact with the public and they had told health authorities they wore masks at all times while outside of the truck cabin.
It is also understood they slept inside the vehicle.
“Anyone who has visited any listed exposure site should get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result or as directed,” Mr Cook said.
“We will keep you updated this afternoon and provide any information as it comes to hand.
“Given that the other driver is negative, that we understand their movements and the short time they were in WA, I’m confident (there won’t be a mass outbreak) but I’m not an expert.”
Those exposure locations will be listed on the WA Health website.
About 60,000 AFL fans from across the country are expected to descend on Western Australia in the coming days, where they will watch the final with no masks or enforced social distancing.
The state paid nothing except the promise of a crowd for the game – a huge discount on the $10 million plus paid by the Queensland Government in 2020.
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said based on the current health advice there would be no changes to the AFL Grand Final being held in Perth or the conditions surrounding the event.
He did ask people to head to the game early and not all crowd around the gates at the last minute.
The commissioner said there would be “extensive policing” at Optus Stadium, around the grounds and at other venues like hotels and other events held on Grand Final Day.
“Let’s use your common sense,” Mr Dawson said.
“We ask people to enjoy the opportunity, the atmosphere, the event and don’t do it at the risk of others or yourself.”
He also said there would be no changes to the state‘s border restrictions at this stage.
Mr Cook said Wednesday’s Covid scare was “another reason why people should take seriously their obligation to get themselves vaccinated”.
“We know we’ll be able to change the way we respond to outbreaks if we have high levels of vaccination,” he said.
Prof Spurrier said health authorities would continue investigating the case and consult with counterparts in NSW and WA.
“There’s 10 sites, overall, and the other sites require quarantine from 14 days from the date of exposure,” she told reporters.
“Now we’re already a time away from those original exposures so there’s a lot of work to do, chasing up with people.
“We are going through normal processes so that includes getting the QR coding information from our database, and then we’ll SMS people in particular but we know that not everybody uses QR codes.
“We’ve also been reaching out and get credit card details.”