A medical worker swabs a member of the public in Sydney, Australia. File/Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Fears of a new cluster of coronavirus cases in Australia eased on Tuesday, as the city of Perth has been locked down for five days after Western Australia state’s first case of local infection in almost 10 months.
Perth maintained a strict lockdown and no new cases were detected across the country for a second day, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
People wait in line to be tested for Covid-19 at Royal Perth Hospital in Perth, Australia. AFP
The city of 2 million people and coastal towns to the south were locked down from Sunday night until Friday night.
Australia ended two weeks without any local cases of the coronavirus on Sunday when a security guard working in hotel quarantine in the Western Australian state capital tested positive for COVID-19.
This followed a security guard who worked at a Perth quarantine hotel contracting a highly contagious British variant of the virus. Overseas travelers who arrive in Perth must isolate in hotel quarantine for 14 days.
The unnamed man most likely contracted COVID-19 from a person who recently returned to the country, Western Australia state Premier Mark McGowan said on Tuesday.
“One of those recent arrivals was accommodated on the same floor as the security guard was working. We are advised that the guard did deliver medication to the door of this quarantine guest,” McGowan told reporters in Canberra.
A general view shows an empty restaurant in the normally busy Elizabeth Quay area in Perth. AFP
McGowan said 101 close contacts of the security guard had so far tested negative to COVID-19. Another 50 people deemed close contacts were awaiting test results.
The vast, largely isolated state has been known in Australia for a hardline COVID-19 response that included keeping its border closed to the rest of the country until recently when it reopened to some regions.
Australia has managed to largely contain its novel coronavirus epidemic - limiting cases to less than 29,000 and deaths to 909 - with the sort of decisive action seen in Perth, and tight border controls.
Health officials in Germany’s Munich city and Australia's state Sydney have confirmed on Sunday that two arrivals (both the countries) from southern Africa over the weekend had tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant.
Early detection of new cases and their contacts is an important and effective weapon in limiting the spread of the virus, and thus reducing complications and deaths.
The person who contracted the virus has been infectious for a week but stayed mostly isolated at home since Monday after developing symptoms, Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
More than 22,500 test results were conducted in the past 24 hours in Australia’s second most populous city Melbourne and authorities urged residents to get tested amid fears of community transmission from a worker at the Holiday Inn in the city.
Officers had been looking for the man since Wednesday, when an acquaintance alerted them to a video he posted on social media of himself leaving the fish at the house and then dancing around the property, Astoria Police Chief Stacy Kelly said.
The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity awarded the Community of Sant’Egidio organisation and Kenyan peace builder Shamsa Abubakar Fadhil as co-honorees of the 2023 award.
The Guinness Book of Records awarded recorded the dog, Bobi, who was born in a small village in central Portugal, the oldest dog in the world, as he reached the age of 30 years and 269 days on Saturday.
Nawal Al-Nuaimi said: “The meeting in itself is a pride, it came to multiply the joy that overwhelmed me by representing my country, the Emirates, in the most important international economic forum, by presenting part of my passion with an Emirati flavour and introducing the world to it, and what made me distraught with the intensity of joy and my tears almost flowed.”