WA restrictions ease, ship cases spike

Western Australia is lifting a raft of COVID-19 restrictions including raising the limit on gatherings to 100 people, as the number of cases from a stranded livestock carrier surged to 20.

Premier Mark McGowan said WA’s third phase of restriction easing would commence next Saturday.

Non-work indoor and outdoor gatherings of up to 300 will be allowed in settings where there are multiple divided spaces.

Patrons can now drink alcohol at bars and restaurants without a meal, but must be seated.

Beauty parlours, cinemas and the zoo are among businesses that are allowed to reopen.

Gyms and sports centres can resume trading but must be regularly cleaned, and full contact sport will be permitted.

Playgrounds and skate parks will no longer be taped off.

Mr McGowan said the recent spike in cases, which comes after a streak of zero-case days, did not mean the state couldn’t move to phase three as there was no evidence of community spread.

WA’s chief health officer will work with Crown casino on how the gaming floor can resume.

“I know it is still not perfect but we are moving ahead,” the premier said on Friday.

The state government also announced the partial easing of public hospital visiting rules.

From Tuesday, the number of people permitted to visit will increase to two people at one time.

Children will also be able to return as visitors and maternity patients can now be accompanied by two birthing partners.

Visits to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients remain off-limits.

Meanwhile, cases increased by eight to 20 among crew from the Al Kuwait, which docked at Fremantle Port one week ago with 48 crew on board.

All crew are in hotel isolation, excluding a 10-member skeleton staff who remain on board and have tested negative.

The new cases bring the number of active cases in the state to 25, with one recovery recorded overnight.

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