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All four security companies operating the state’s quarantine hotels have agreed to ban workers from having second jobs, the WA Government has confirmed.
- The ban covers guards and other “high-risk” hotel quarantine workers
- Nebulisers are also being banned in quarantine hotels amid concerns
- WA’s restrictions for Victorian travellers have been extended again
It comes after a security guard, who worked a second job as a ride share driver, tested positive to the UK stain of COVID-19, sparking a five-day lockdown last week for 80 per cent of the state’s population.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said the second job ban was expected to be in place by next Monday, February 15.
It will affect all security workers across the nine hotels quarantining overseas arrivals for 14 days, as well as other “high-risk” quarantine workers including cleaners and those in catering.
Mr McGowan said they would receive a pay increase of about 40 per cent as compensation.
“Obviously people working in hotel quarantine still have lives, so they still go to the shops, still go to schools with their children, they still might visit their parents. All of those sorts of things are difficult to stop,” he said.
“But the second job aspect, which we know was a concern, that ends as of next Monday.”
Earlier this week, Health Minister Roger Cook said he did not want the workers to be under financial pressure as a result of the change, nor did he want to lose any staff who were now trained and experienced in working at quarantine hotels.
No change for Victorian travellers
The 14-day self-quarantine restrictions for Victorian arrivals have also been extended due to the evolving COVID-19 situation there.
Mr McGowan said the pause on easing border controls with Victoria was based on health advice from WA’s Chief Health Officer, Andy Robertson.
“We expect the pause on their border controls to continue for the time being,” he said.
He said he expected very few people from Victoria would be travelling to WA.
Two new cases of coronavirus were detected in WA overnight, both of them involving returned overseas travellers aged in their 30s in hotel quarantine.
There were once again no locally acquired transmissions of the virus.
Nebulisers banned in hotel quarantine
Following suspicion from Victorian health officials that recent cases of COVID-19 at a hotel were linked to the use of a nebuliser, or inhalation device, by one of the hotel guests, Mr McGowan said authorities in Perth were banning their use in hotel quarantine.
“We don’t think there are many, if any, being used in our hotel quarantine system at the moment,” he said.
“We’re doing a sweep to check on that.
Mr McGowan said they appeared to be a threat and WA authorities would continue to adapt their operations as other lessons were learned.
The Holiday Inn hotel at Melbourne Airport has been closed until further notice after a number of workers and returned travellers tested positive for the virus.