Lockdown actions praised

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Police at a South West border checkpoint at the weekend.
Camera IconPolice at a South West border checkpoint at the weekend. Credit: Jakeb Waddell

Waroona Shire was the southernmost area to be included in a three-day COVID lockdown over the long weekend.

Perth and Peel residents entered the snap lockdown at midnight Friday after WA recorded its first case of community transmitted COVID-19 in more than 12 months.

Premier Mark McGowan announced the lockdown after a man became infected with the highly transmissible UK strain while staying on the sixth floor of the Mercure Hotel Perth.

A checkpoint was set up right on Waroona’s doorstep to ensure travellers who did not have exemptions could not cross the Peel-South West border.

Shire president Mike Walmsley said people began panic-buying at shops on Friday afternoon and both Forrest Highway and South Western Highway quickly filled with holiday makers heading south.

“It was bedlam at the shops and South Western Highway especially was booming,” he said.

“It does send people into a bit of a spiral.”

Apart from a panicked Friday evening, Cr Walmsley praised Waroona residents adhering to the strict lockdown protocols, which included taking to their driveways for physically distanced Anzac dawn services.

“I’m proud of the people in Waroona for doing the right thing,” he said.

“The sad thing is we couldn’t leave our homes to pay our respects (to the Anzacs) once again this year,” he said.

“A lot of people go to the Yarloop ceremony too so it was very disappointing.”

“Operators are still trying to make up from last years loss of income and now they have lost a long-weekend,” he said.

“The potential loss of business from a long weekend must be devastating.

Cr Walmsley While praising the State Government’s “tough call” to go into lockdown, Cr Walmsley was critical of the “confusing” protocol messages.

“The messaging was haphazard and not at all on the mark,” he said.

“It was bizarre to let people travel out of the metro area on Friday, only to retrospectively tell them on Saturday afternoon that they need to self isolate in their hotel room.”

On Saturday the State Opposition Leader Mia Davies also slammed the State Government’s handling of the long-weekend lockdown.

“This Labor Government has repeatedly said they were a finely oiled machine ready to kick into action if needed, but the last 24 hours has proved this is absolutely not the case,” Ms Davies said.

At the time of print, the lockdown was due to be lifted at midnight last night, but some restrictions were expected to remain.

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