Man 'visited girlfriend', faces $50k fine
A Victorian man who was supposed to spend a fortnight in quarantine at a Perth hotel is facing a fine of up to $50,000 after allegedly jimmying a fire exit door and sneaking out to visit his girlfriend.
The 35-year-old interstate traveller arrived in late March.
"He was required under the Emergency Management Act to self-quarantine for 14 days (until 13 April 2020) and he was provided a room at a Perth hotel for this purpose," WA Police said in a statement on Sunday.
"It is alleged during the quarantine period, the man breached the self-quarantine requirements that he was bounded by on a number of occasions.
"He wedged open a fire exit door at the hotel to enable him to leave and re-enter the property without being seen by staff. He utilised public transport to travel within the metropolitan area."
The man was taken into custody and charged with two counts of failure to comply with a direction (Section 86 1A EMA). Police said he was refused bail on the basis that he will likely continue or repeat the offence, endangering the safety of others.
The West Australian reported the man had been staying in Perth Travelodge and allegedly used a folded piece of paper to wedge the door before catching a train to Armadale to visit his girlfriend.
The 35-year-old was remanded in custody to appear in court via video link on Thursday.
WA Premier Mark McGowan was asked about the incident at a press conference on Monday.
"Custody is far worse than staying in a hotel," he replied.
"He has already suffered a consequence. He can now suffer a penalty of up to $50,000 and further incarceration.
"He has done the wrong thing, he has been caught. I expect the law will deal with him fairly harshly."
Mr McGowan said he understood the man had allegedly been jimmying the hotel door and travelling through the city on public transport "to visit his girlfriend somewhere".
The Premier said eight accommodation facilities have been set up as quarantine centres across the capital city.
The Duxton Hotel, the Pan Pacific, Crown Metropol, Crown Promenade and Novotel were all enlisted to accommodate hundreds of interstate and international travellers, according to PerthNow.
"Many of them are now relatively full, and Rottnest (Island) is being heavily used now, so I am very pleased we made that decision around Rottnest," Mr McGowan said, noting passengers from the Vasco da Gama cruise ship remain there.
"The people who went there 10 or so days ago, the expectation is they will come out in the next four or five days, and that will free up more capacity for people who may be quarantined from overseas, or indeed from over east."
He said the Westin Hotel will also be used for health workers if they need to be quarantined.
But Mr McGowan doesn't want anyone else travelling to the state from anywhere. A hard border closure kicked in on Sunday night applying to everyone including locals who may have been out of WA.
"They are turned around at the border," the Premier said today.
"As bad as it is for them, it sets a good example for everyone else.
"We don't want people from the east coming here. Don't come. We don't want you. Stay away."
Travellers must apply for an exemption to return.
Senior government officials, military personnel on duty in WA, emergency service workers and judicial staff are among those still allowed to enter the state.
"It is a temporary measure," Mr McGowan said.
"I am not sure how long it will last, maybe months, many months."
WA Today reported Australian Federal Police officers were meeting passengers on six domestic flights arriving at Perth Airport on Monday to determine whether they could stay.
Last week, WA Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Dreibergs said about 6000 people had been stopped at checkpoints throughout the state when softer measures requiring visitors to self-isolate for 14 days were in force.
"We can tell you that 99 per cent of those people are doing the absolute right thing," he said.
A tourist bus with 10 people on board was one of a number of vehicles turned around.
"We didn't prosecute, but I can tell you we will be prosecuting in the future," the Deputy Commissioner said.
WA on Monday had recorded 460 cases of coronavirus. An 84-year-old man who travelled on-board the Ruby Princess cruise ship died from coronavirus at Royal Perth Hospital, taking the state's toll to four.
Mr McGowan said he wanted to see the coronavirus-plagued Artania cruise ship sail away from the west coast, "never to return".