WA records 643 new local COVID-19 cases as Omicron outbreak erupts, five hospitalized

Western Australia has seen a massive spike in COVID-19 cases, with 643 new local infections reported.

There are now five COVID cases in WA hospitals, after three more people were admitted.

Only two new travel-related cases were recorded.

The peak of new infections comes after a string of days with more than 200 local cases recorded.

There were 258 cases reported yesterday.

A total of 11,157 PCR tests were performed in the state yesterday, up from 11,563 the day before.

Of today’s new cases, 174 were the result of people self-reporting positive rapid antigen test (RAT) results, up from 22 positive RAT results yesterday.

Big push without shock, says AMA

Doctors said the rise in cases was not a surprise and was in line with projections of thousands of cases a day in March.

The number of PCR tests carried out in WA dropped yesterday, but there were much more positive RAT results.(ABC News: Keane Bourke)

Australian Medical Association WA President Mark Duncan-Smith said the Omicron modeling released by the state government yesterday was on par with what doctors expected.

‘It is encouraging to see that the government modeling is quite similar to the AMA WA modelling, based on South Australia figures,’ he said.

“We predicted just over 9,000 cases per day at the peak, they predict 10,000 per day at the peak.

“The importance for the community here is that it is with restrictions.”

Dr Duncan-Smith said the restrictions were crucial to prevent predictions of spikes in cases from increasing dramatically.

Restrictions on private gatherings clarified

The eruption in the number of cases came after Premier Mark McGowan took to Facebook this morning to provide an update on restrictions for private gatherings and what that meant for “events like Christmas parties. ‘birthday and backyard weddings’.

Indoor private gatherings remain capped at 30 people, regardless of residence size.

The man speaks at the lectern in front of Australian, West Australian and Aboriginal flags.
The Prime Minister revealed new restrictions last week as he made an announcement to open the WA border.(ABC News: Cason Ho)

But private gatherings of up to 200 people can take place in an area outside a home, such as a backyard, under certain conditions, including:

  • The gathering takes place mainly outdoors
  • No more than 30 people at the gathering can be inside at a time, this includes people who live at the address
  • There is at least two square meters of space per person outside your home.

Mr. McGowan provided some additional clarification on these conditions.

“Just to clarify that last point, it’s not about keeping your guests two meters apart, it’s about the amount of outdoor space used for gathering, versus the number of people present,” he said.

This means that to organize a party of 200 people in your garden, for example, you must have at least 400 square meters of outdoor space.

A basketball court is about the same size, around 420 square meters.

‘Do the right thing,’ urges Mark McGowan

Mr McGowan said nothing was perfect in a pandemic and the measures aimed to strike a balance between slowing the spread of the coronavirus and minimizing the impact on people’s lives.

“What’s important is that if you’re hosting or attending one of these events, you’re doing the right thing for your other guests,” he said.

“Follow basic hygiene rules, and if you are sick, stay home and get tested.

“It’s just common sense, and it will make a big difference.”

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to search, up and down arrows for volume.
Play the video.  Duration: 16 minutes 12 seconds

How and when will the COVID pandemic end?

Loading the form…