Australia

NSW truck drivers test positive for COVID-19 in WA

Two truck drivers who travelled from NSW through three states have tested positive to the coronavirus upon their arrival in Perth.

The pair were tested as part of routine surveillance in NSW on Wednesday, before embarking on their journey through Victoria and South Australian to WA, where they arrived on Thursday night.

After receiving their test results back on Friday, their employer informed WA Health of their positive result.

Premier Mark McGowan moved to reassure West Australians the risk to the community was low, as the men – essential workers – had minimal contact with others.

“Both truck drivers wore masks whilst outside of the truck,” he told reporters.

“They reportedly slept in their truck last night and had minimal contact with others throughout their travel.”

Four people who did interact with them have been ordered into a two-week quarantine, he said.

Public health alerts have also been issued for a BP Truckstop in Norseman, the IOR Petroleum Fuel Station in Widgiemooltha, the Shell Fuel Station in Southern Cross, and the Mobil roadhouse in Yellowdine.

Anyone who visited the venues during the listed times must get tested and isolate for 14 days, but broader restrictions will not be introduced yet.

“I’ve queried this with the Chief Health Officer this afternoon… we’ll monitor things very carefully,” he said.

The testing regime that caught the men’s infection, but also allowed them to travel with a test result pending, has been successful nation-wide during the pandemic, Mr McGowan said.

“They’ve done nothing wrong,” he said.

“We’ve had this in place now for well over a year.

“This is the first time, to the best of my knowledge, it’s ever thrown up a positive case.”

However, the situation reinforced the need for all eligible West Australians to get vaccinated, the premier argued.

“What this shows is how insidious the COVID-19 virus is.”

“Whilst every precaution is taken, it continues to run rampant around us and we need to do everything we can to contain it and kill it.”

The announcement came after Friday’s national cabinet meeting, at which the premier defended his refusal to agree to drop borders once the nation achieved 70 per cent vaccination coverage.

“The whole idea that at 70 per cent vaccination you deliberately infect people, I just can’t tolerate it,” he told reporters.

“(It) would just be a catastrophe.

“So I’m just not going to do it.”

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