WA hotel quarantine report with government

A report into hotel quarantine following a breach that sparked a lockdown is with the WA government.
A report into hotel quarantine following a breach that sparked a lockdown is with the WA government.

Western Australia's government has received a report into the adequacy of its hotel quarantine system but is yet to reveal when it will be released.

Former WA chief health officer Tarun Weeramanthri was tasked with reviewing the system after a security guard at the Sheraton Four Points hotel contracted COVID-19 then unwittingly roamed the streets while infectious.

Metropolitan Perth and nearby regions went into a five-day lockdown on January 31 and authorities braced for an influx of cases.

But a testing blitz produced no evidence of other infections in the community, despite it being the highly contagious UK variant of the virus.

The incident placed scrutiny on WA's hotel quarantine safeguards and led to changes including barring some workers from holding second jobs.

Health Minister Roger Cook on Tuesday confirmed the government had received Professor Weeramanthri's report, saying he expected the findings to be made public shortly.

"It's in the hands of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and obviously I have less oversight of that process now we're in caretaker than I would otherwise," he told reporters.

"I understand that the department is keen to make those findings public and to make sure everyone in the community can continue to be confident in our hotel system."

The guard, an international student aged in his 20s and known as "case 903", returned home on Sunday after three weeks in quarantine.

WA Health said he had chosen to stay beyond the mandatory 14 days after becoming unwell with an unrelated condition.

Questions remain over how he contracted the virus.

The guard had been stationed on a chair about three metres from an infected guest's room but they are not believed to have had any face-to-face contact.

Authorities believe the virus was transmitted either by airborne transmission or surface contamination.

Anyone working in a "high-risk situation" in quarantine hotels is now required to wear a face mask and protective eyewear at all times.

The government has also introduced requirements for frontline hotel workers to be tested between shifts and on their days off.

Mr Cook said 378 people had received the Pfizer vaccine on day one of WA's rollout and a further 330 were booked in on Tuesday.

First in line to get the jab are quarantine and international border workers, and healthcare staff in aged and disability care.

A new clinic has opened at Fremantle Port for ship workers and another will open at Perth Airport on Wednesday.

Vaccine clinics will be rolled out across regional WA from next week, starting in Bunbury.

About one-third of WA's hotel quarantine workers have signed up for the jab so far.

Mr Cook said the government would consider diverting any security guards who did not agree to be vaccinated to other parts of the hotel operations.

"We want to keep frontline workers safe," he said.

"Clearly it's important that these people take advantage of these opportunities."

Australian Associated Press