COVID back in Australia as Perth enters lockdown

Australia’s longest coronavirus-free run has come to an end.

As Perth was ordered into lockdown on Sunday (January 31), after a security guard working in hotel quarantine tested positive for COVID-19.

The city of 2 million had recorded no cases of the virus for 10 months.

And Australia had just announced 14 days without a locally acquired infection, hours earlier.

Shoppers in Perth flocked to the supermarkets ahead of the lockdown.

Western Australia state Premier Mark McGowan urged for calm:

"Even though it was nearly 10 months ago, WA has experienced community transmission of this virus before. We all did the right thing and we crushed it. And it worked. A 5-day lockdown. It's crucial we act quickly to keep the community safe. We cannot forget how quickly this virus can spread. Nor the devastation it can cause."

The vast, largely isolated state has been known in Australia for a hardline COVID-19 response.

That included keeping its border closed to the rest of the country until recently when it reopened to some regions.

Health authorities said the security guard who tested positive was working at a hotel where four people in quarantine had active cases of the virus, including the highly contagious strains that have been linked to Britain and South Africa.