December 2, 2023

Man arrested for allegedly threatening to spit on Perth coronavirus hotel quarantine guard

Police in Western Australia have charged a returning overseas traveller with failing to comply with…

Man arrested for allegedly threatening to spit on Perth coronavirus hotel quarantine guard

Police in Western Australia have charged a returning overseas traveller with failing to comply with a COVID-19 quarantine direction and threatening to spit on security staff.

South Australian man Dariusz Tarnowski allegedly left his quarantine hotel room last night and entered the emergency stairwell where he threatened to spit in the face of a security guard.

The 48-year-old travelled into Perth from Poland via Doha on January 28 and was ordered to quarantine in the hotel for 14 days.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said he was arrested after security allegedly saw him leave his room.

“There was a bit of to-and-fro for about eight minutes,” he told ABC Radio Perth.

Mr Tarnowski appeared in the Northbridge Magistrates Court this morning after spending the night in police custody.

He did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody to reappear in court on Friday, when his quarantine period is due to end.

Speaking after the end of WA’s snap COVID-19 lockdown, Commissioner Dawson said his message to officers on the ground had been to “hand out more masks than infringements”.

He said a few arrests had been made and infringements handed out, but broadly speaking, the vast majority of people were compliant.

“If anyone’s belligerently non-compliant, we’ll deal with them,” he said.

“[But] it’d be well over 99 per cent of the population understand why and they’re doing the right thing.

“Until Saturday midnight, you have to wear a mask when you’re outside,” he said, adding that excluded people doing vigorous exercise outdoors.

Burglars charged with not wearing masks

Commissioner Dawson said officers had also charged burglars in Perth for not covering their face.

Commissioner Dawson speaks to media. The background is out of focus.
The WA Police Commissioner says anyone “belligerently non-compliant” with mask rules will be charged.(ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)

He said the accused were both stealing and breaching COVID-19 laws.

“I’ve never done that before in my career — told burglars you’ve got to wear a mask, but they do,” he said.

“It sounds really wacko, but they were actually breaching two laws.”

But Commissioner Dawson urged the public to leave the enforcement of mask compliancy up to police officers to avoid any violence.

Students back at school after lockdown

School has returned in Perth, Peel and the South West today after the term one start date was pushed back a week due to the snap lockdown.

Education Department director-general Lisa Rogers told ABC Radio Perth staff and secondary students who had to wear masks at school were adapting well.

“It looks like things as going really smoothly,” she said.


There are some exemptions for students who are injured or have a mental, developmental or physical illness or impairment.

“If our students are engaged in vigorous exercise, they’re exempt, and of course there’s sensible approaches in terms of consuming food and drink and medicine,” Ms Rogers said.

Primary school students are not required to wear masks.

Ms Rogers said the department was pleased all schools had been able to open today, despite challenging conditions in the last week.

“It’s been a phenomenal week, of course, with the fires and the floods and of course the lockdown,” she said.

Children impacted by the Wooroloo bushfires have also been offered assistance.

“We’ve sourced uniforms, books bags lunchboxes, whatever those students need,” Ms Rogers said.

“If there are students out there in our public schools who need supplies do get in touch with your principal or the Education Department.”

Back at school with a smile

Some students at Mt Hawthorn Primary School in Perth expressed disappointment over not being able to see their friends earlier, but they were largely understanding about the lockdown.

A mother wearing a face mask and her young daughter pose for a photo outside school.
Anneke Van Droffelaar, with her mother Kylie, said she was excited to be back at school.(ABC News: Rhiannon Shine)

“I guess it’s to make sure everyone’s safe so that was OK with me, but I was just a little bit disappointed,” student Anneke Van Droffelaar said.

Anneke’s mother Kylie said her initial reaction to the lockdown and delayed return to school was shock, but it was seemingly the right thing to do.

“We’re almost back to normal now so it was worth doing a few days of lockdown,” Ms Van Droffelaar said.

A father wearing a face mask flanked by his two young daughters posing for a photo outside school.
Aerin (left), Travis and Eve Lithgo (right) were all smiles on the first day of school.(ABC News: Rhiannon Shine)

Fellow parent Travis Lithgo said the lockdown was an unfortunate situation, but it was nice to spend some extra time with his daughters Aerin and Eve.

Eighth days of no local cases

WA has again recorded no new local COVID-19 cases overnight, and all 527 close and casual contacts of the hotel security who sparked last week’s lockdown have returned at least one negative test result.

Health officials said more than 3,500 people were tested for COVID-19 yesterday.

They are continuing to monitor 10 active cases in quarantine.