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Western Australia records two new Covid-19 cases

Western Australia has recorded two new Covid-19 cases on Christmas Day, after an infected French backpacker visited a number of locations across Perth.

The 25-year-old unvaccinated traveller has been in Australia since before the pandemic started.

He arrived in WA from Queensland on December 12 – only one hour before border restrictions were tightened.

After feeling unwell on Sunday, he got tested on Wednesday and had a “strong positive” result returned on Thursday.

On Saturday Premier Mark McGowan tweeted that as of 10am the state had recorded two new Covid-19 cases.

“Both cases are linked to Case 1,133, the man who arrived in Perth from QLD on Sunday, 12 December,” he tweeted.

“In addition, there are two other cases reported overnight – both overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

“This brings the total of active confirmed cases in WA to 18 – 15 in hotel quarantine and three in self-quarantine.”

To date, 531 close contacts and 982 casual contacts have been identified.

After five people tested positive of Friday, health authorities upgraded the contact status for a Perth Mess Hall event on December 19, where about 400 people attended.

This was because four of those new infections were casual contacts of the man from the event. The fifth was a close contact.

Now all those attendees are required to get tested and will miss Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, needing to quarantine for 14 days.

Premier Mark McGowan said authorities suspected it was the Delta variant.

“This is the most likely event to have community spread of the virus in WA that we are unable to crush and kill. That is a fact,” he said on Friday.

“We expect the number of contacts to continue to increase.”

In a bid to contain the spread, the premier tightened the states border restrictions with South Australia and Queensland.

They are now considered “high risk” locations.

But Mr McGowan said the state’s hard borders could become “redundant” if the virus ran rampant in WA and could open earlier than the planned February date.

He also announced a mask mandate in the Perth and Peel regions until 6am on Tuesday, as well as restrictions at all licensed hospitality venues that can only operate with seated service from 6pm on Friday.

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