The family of a young security guard who sparked Perth’s draconian five-day lockdown after contracting Covid-19 have lashed out at Western Australia’s quarantine system.
The guard – an international student in his 20s who is originally from Bangladesh – worked at the Four Points by Sheraton while there were four Covid-positive patients inside.
Two of those quarantined were carrying the highly-infectious UK variant while another had the South African strain.
The guard and part-time ride-share driver was preparing to graduate from an engineering course at Edith Cowan University when he caught the virus by delivering medication to the door of one of the infected travellers on January 24.
Security guards at the Four Points Sheraton hotel in Perth on Sunday. The family of a young guard at the hotel who sparked Perth’s draconian five-day lockdown after contracting Covid-19 have hit out at Western Australia’s quarantine system
The international student, who is aged in his 20s and from Maylands, was working as a security guard at Sheraton Four Points hotel. His family hit out at the decision to quarantine travellers in Perth rather than in remote areas where the risk of community transmission would be lower
The young man’s family on Wednesday described him as a ‘studious bachelor’ who was worried about the impact the virus would have on him.
‘He’s a human being, it’s human nature to worry… so obviously he is upset, very upset,’ a relative told The West Australian.
The guard – who has not yet been officially identified – is now in quarantine at a hotel in the centre of Perth.
His family hit out at the decision to quarantine travellers in Perth rather than in remote areas where the threat of rapid community transmission would be far lower.
‘Only he got infected [but] it could have been other guys infected at the same place. It’s a hotel with everyone passing [through],’ the relative said.
They said it would have been safer for state authorities to quarantine overseas arrivals ‘somewhere remotely’.
Health authorities have listed 15 venues, on top of Sheraton Four Points hotel, as potential exposure sites after they were visited by the security guard. Pictured: Map shows venues the positive Covid case visited
Nurses take swabs at a COVID-19 testing clinic in Perth on Monday as residents endure a strict lockdown to spread
The guard is believed to have visited the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre – one of the 16 locations visited by the guard while infectious – to pick up his gown and regalia ahead of his graduation ceremony.
Health officials said the man claimed he was wearing PPE while working at the hotel.
The security firm the guard worked for – Ace Security and Event Services – on Tuesday night remained tight-lipped as authorities in WA investigate the cause of the outbreak.
Perth, Peel, and WA’s South West were plunged into lockdown on Sunday after news broke that the guard had tested positive.
Officials temporarily stopped overseas arrivals from staying at the hotel and asked anyone who left the hotel from January 25 to isolate until they get tested.
Small business owners have said they could lose out on tens of thousands of dollars during the lockdown.
A man and woman walk through the Perth CBD on Tuesday. The strict restrictions will remain in place until 6pm on February 5
‘One small business told me the shutdown means losing $11,000 this week. That’s hard to bear for a small business family,’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA chief executive Chris Rodwell told the West Australian.
Authorities believe the guard was infectious for five days before he tested positive to Covid-19.
And during the time he was infectious, he visited 16 locations across Perth – including a Coles, KFC, hair dresser, halal grocery store and the Indian consulate.
Contact tracers in Western Australia are scrambling to locate all potential contacts.
The man returned negative results as part of routine testing on January 15, 17 and 23 but started to become unwell on January 28 – and called in sick for his shift on January 30.
Western Australia recorded no new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday after two days of lockdown. Pictured: Scarborough beach in Perth
Western Australia’s chief health officer Andy Robertson said the security guard was most likely infectious from January 26 – five days before his positive test result came through on Saturday night.
WA’s health incident coordinator Robyn Lawrence on Tuesday claimed the guard ‘did everything right’ despite failing to isolate when he first fell ill.
He eventually attended a GP practice in Nedlands and got tested.
‘He was unwell, he stayed home, he sought medical advice and then subsequently the following day when he was still unwell, sought a Covid test,’ Dr Lawrence told Perth radio 6PR.
‘There is no bungle at this point in time.
‘I will agree that the State Health Incident Control Centre is responsible for the hotel quarantine program and we take that responsibility incredibly seriously.’
Perth residents are allowed out of their homes for one hour of exercise – but only with a mask on
Anyone living in the lockdown zone, including school students, must stay at home unless shopping for essentials, attending to medical or healthcare needs, exercising within their neighbourhood or working if unable to do so remotely.
Metropolitan testing clinics are staying open until 10pm, but Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup called for the government to open a 24-hour clinic.
He also wants an immediate end to some hotel workers holding second jobs.
Mr McGowan has said the government is close to enforcing such a ban which is likely to be softened by a 40 per cent pay increase.
The Sheraton guard is also a rideshare driver but is not believed to have worked in that job since January 22 – several days before likely becoming infected.
He is said to be fully cooperating with a police investigation.