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WA COVID-19 scare: Two new cases as Delta variant confirmed

WA has recorded two new local COVID-19 cases overnight, both linked to an unvaccinated French backpacker who arrived from Queensland earlier this month.

The infections come after WA recorded five new local cases yesterday.

Health authorities today confirmed that the 25-year-old French backpacker has the Delta strain of the virus.

“All cases related to this outbreak can be assumed to also be Delta,” a health department statement read.

To date, WA Health has identified 531 close contacts and 982 casual contacts.

WA was sent into red alert on Thursday after the backpacker tested positive for the virus, with the government imposing a mask mandate in all indoor settings — excluding the home — and banning dancing. After Friday’s positive cases, the government prohibited standing service at venues.

COVID. People in Perth wear masks after a French tourist tests positive.
Camera IconPeople in Perth wear masks after a French tourist tests positive. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

The Frenchman, who has been in Australia since before the pandemic, arrived in WA on December 12 – just one hour before the border restrictions were strengthened with Queensland.

He felt sick on Sunday and got tested on Wednesday, with the “strong positive” result coming through on Thursday.

During his infectious period, he visited multiple sites in Perth, including busy supermarkets in Mirrabooka and multiple clubs in Northbridge.

Four of the five positive cases reported on Friday caught the virus at a Perth Mess Hall event. Yesterday, hundreds of casual contacts from this club night were reclassified as close contacts – meaning they are required to be tested and self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure.

In a bid to contain potential spread, authorities locked down the Old Fire Station hostel in Fremantle, with as many as 100 of its occupants believed to have attended the Mess Hall event.

About 10,267 COVID tests were undertaken Thursday in the wake of the positive case.

This morning, WA Health authorities revealed that they are expanding wastewater surveillance in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation.

Testing across all six metropolitan wastewater treatment plants will be increased to twice a week.

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