Emergency alert

WA to ease virus rules despite ship case

Masked members of the public on St Georges Terrace in Perth last week. The Perth and Peel regions went into a four day lockdown last week after positive cases for the Delta variant were found in the northern suburbs of Perth.  (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

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A bulk vessel crew member has been hospitalised in Perth after testing positive to coronavirus as Western Australia prepares to further ease restrictions.

The MV Emerald Indah docked in Geraldton, 420km north of Perth, on Sunday night after the man became ill and “deteriorated quickly”, with bad weather preventing a helicopter evacuation.

Premier Mark McGowan says the man was taken to Geraldton Hospital and subsequently flown to Perth after returning a positive test.

“While this is less than ideal, we want to reinforce there is no current health risk to the Geraldton community,” Mr McGowan told reporters on Monday.

Staff who treated the man in Geraldton had been fully vaccinated and wore protective equipment.

Premier wants ship gone

The MV Emerald Indah has set sail for Kwinana, south of Perth, but Mr McGowan said he wanted the empty bulk carrier gone.

“We are currently working with federal authorities to try to ensure the ship sails away immediately,” he said.

The vessel is registered as flying under a Singaporean flag and had most recently been in Indonesia.

None of the other 21 crew members are reported as being unwell.

With the man’s case set to be included in Tuesday’s official numbers, no local cases were detected overnight from 5177 tests.

Perth and Peel to start reopening

It has paved the way for Perth and the Peel region to move to a second phase of transitional restrictions from 12.01am this morning.

Face masks won’t be required outdoors where physical distancing is possible and hospitality venues will return to a two-square metre capacity and a limit of 150 patrons.

Major venues including Optus Stadium and RAC Arena can operate at 50 per cent capacity.

The restrictions are due to expire next Monday, when Perth and Peel are slated to return to pre-lockdown life.

Premier warns against complacency

Mr McGowan said it was encouraging no further cases had been linked to the northern suburbs cluster that plunged more than two million people into a four-day lockdown last week.

But he urged West Australians not to get complacent about getting tested.

“It’s telling that many of the cases in this cluster tested negative before eventually testing positive … they were already designated as close contacts and that’s why we tested them multiple times,” he said.

“But for people in the community, even if you’ve already been tested once, don’t hesitate to get tested again, especially if your symptoms worsen.”

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA has estimated Perth’s third lockdown in five months will cost WA businesses about $245 million.

Details of a business support package are set to be unveiled later in the week.

Victoria may reopen

Victoria is set to be reclassified as a “very low risk” state from Friday, removing quarantine requirements, if there are no new cases this week.

Police are meanwhile continuing to hunt for a Tasmanian man who allegedly fled quarantine after being denied permission to enter WA.

Kyle Stephens travelled from Tasmania to Sydney, while the city was in lockdown, and continued on to Perth on Thursday.

He fled after being formally denied permission to enter the state and told to stay in hotel quarantine while waiting for a flight out, police said.

Authorities believe the 32-year-old may be travelling with another man from Perth to the Geraldton area.

WA recorded one new local case of COVID-19 on Sunday. The man is the partner of a previous case, a woman who was exposed to the virus at a gym in Perth’s north.

The man, aged in his 30s, has been isolating since June 26 and is not believed to pose any public health risk.

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