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Hotel security guard may have caught virus from luggage

WA has recorded no new community COVID cases overnight, with hopes restrictions in the Perth and Peel regions will be relaxed over the weekend.

The welcome news comes after concerns were raised yesterday after six new exposure sites were linked to the Pan Pacific hotel cluster.

Fears were first sparked after it was revealed a security guard from the quarantine hotel at the centre of WA’s latest COVID-19 scare caught the virus from a returned traveller from the US.

WA Premier Mark McGowan this morning said the guard may have caught the virus from handling the luggage trolley of returned travellers.

The guard later infected two others, leading the Government to extend mask-wearing restrictions and lock fans out of the Eagles-Dockers derby.

Mr McGowan said the government could only “speculate” as to the source of the guard’s infection, but that it might be from handling the trolley with luggage from infected passengers.

“He [the guard] was masked up, he was wearing PPE, all the precautions were in place, he entered the lift that they had been in, we know that, and he handled some luggage,” Mr McGowan said.

“We think that he may have handled their luggage.

“Was there transmission there? We can only speculate.”

The Premier’s staff later clarified that the guard had handled the luggage trolley, not the luggage itself.

Mr McGowan denied that precautions for quarantine staff needed to be tightened.

“The measures that are in place are as strong as you can make them,” he said.

“People wear gloves, they’re required to wash, they’re required to wear masks, they’re required to wear face shields.

“There’s not much more that we can do.”

Mr McGowan also urged residents of Collie not to “panic,” and that the historic Collie case recorded yesterday is almost certainly not infectious.

The confirmed 108 close contacts had been identified in relation to the Pan Pacific cluster. Of these, 75 have returned negative tests and results of the remainder would be known over the coming days.

Mr McGowan said of the 476 casual contacts identified, 221 had returned negative test results.

He said 5718 COVID-19 tests were conducted yesterday.

However, the Premier confirmed there were two new cases in hotel quarantine, both of whom had returned from India.

File source

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