• WA politicians flying into Canberra have been ordered into quarantine after a COVID-19 was detected in Perth. (Canning SBS)Source: Canning SBS
Parliament's first sitting week of the year will go ahead as scheduled with WA federal politicians needing to apply for an exemption from the ACT's quarantine restrictions.
By
Sarah Collard

Source:
NITV News
1 Feb 2021 - 2:43 PM  UPDATED 1 Feb 2021 - 2:43 PM

The ACT government has confirmed that Western Australia's federal politicians are eligible for exemption from tough new entry restrictions into the territory.  

On Monday, the latest advice was that federal parliamentarians can apply to be exempt from the orders due to their 'essential work'. 

Dr Kerryn Coleman told reporters that federal politicians could seek an exemption from the five day quarantine orders. 

"Parliamentarians travelling from these declared COVID-19 affected areas of Western Australia will be eligible for an exemption as they are classified as essential workers," Dr Coleman said. 

The capital had ordered all arrivals from the Perth, Peel and South West regions of Western Australia into quarantine until Friday 9pm to coincide with that state's snap lockdown. 

Much of WA's population is under lockdown for the next five days, with stay at home orders in place until Friday after a man contracted COVID-19 while working at a hotel quarantine facility in Perth’s CBD.

It's believed the virus could be the UK strain which is up to 70 per cent more contagious than the standard coronavirus strains.

Politicians, including the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, senator Pat Dodson, and their staffers were told to go straight to their accomodations and await further instructions overnight.

However, since the exemption announcement, they will now be able to attend parliament for the first sitting week of the year. 

Minister Wyatt said earlier that WA's snap lockdown was needed to protect vulnerable Australians and he was confident the WA health department would be able to get on top of any potential outbreaks.

“It’s a good measure, given the virus in the United Kingdom. What we want are people safe… It’s about protecting people,” Mr Wyatt said.  

“WA has been very fortunate. We are just unfortunate that it has now got into the community and they are tracing everybody.”

“It’s a good measure, given the virus in the United Kingdom. What we want are people safe… It’s about protecting people.”

WA senator, Patrick Dodson, who flew in from Broome, said those coming into the capital were told to isolate once they landed.

“We were told not to go to Parliament at this point… It’s a precaution, and I understand it and we’ll just abide by the rules," the WA senator said overnight.

The case brings to end WA's almost ten month streak of no community transmission of the virus.

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