• WA Premier Mark McGowan has introduced alcohol restrictions and opened Rottnest Island up as a quarantine zone as confirmed cases passes 200 in WA. (AAP)Source: AAP
WA government introduces restrictions on the purchase of takeaway alcohol, and cruise ships set to offload passengers on Wadjemup-Rottnest Island, as confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state surge over 200.
Rangi Hirini

25 Mar 2020 - 8:23 PM  UPDATED 25 Mar 2020 - 8:23 PM

The enforcement of temporary restrictions for the sale of takeaway alcohol began in Western Australia on Wednesday aimed at preventing the state’s health services from having to deal with related issues as they contend with the outbreak of COVID-19.

In a statement, WA premier Mark McGowan said the state needed as many hospital staff as possible on hand to focus on the coronavirus pandemic in coming weeks.

“I also don’t want to see a situation where Western Australians move toward buying up large amounts of alcohol during times where they may be staying at home for extended periods, to adhere to social distancing rules,” he said.

Under the changes, takeaway alcohol will be limited to the following amounts, per customer, each day:

  • one carton of beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits; or
  • three bottles of wine; or
  • one litre of spirits; or
  • one litre of fortified wine; or
  • a combination of any two of the above (but not a combination of two of the same product).

Existing takeaway restrictions in particular communities will remain in place.

The new restrictions came into effect immediately from 10am this morning, the government said they will extend the restrictions past the two week period if necessary.

New cases confirmed overnight

WA's confirmed number of coronavirus cases rose by 30 overnight and now sits at a total of 205 as of Wednesday morning, according to the state's health minister.

Eight of the new cases are from regional Western Australia; four are from the south west; while the Kimberley, Pilbara, Wheatbelt and Great Southern have one in each region.

The state government is looking at introducing new restrictions for travelling between regions throughout the state in an attempt to limit the spread of the potentially deadly virus. 

Mr McGowan told the media the drafting of travel restriction legislation is continuing and said the restrictions will come into effect soon.

Currently, all West Australians are urged to return home unless they are deemed an essential service provider.

Wadjemup quarantine 

Earlier this week, the state government cleared Wadjemup-Rottnest Island for use as a quarantine zone.

On Wednesday, it was confirmed three cruise ship liners were headed to Fremantle Port with  more than 4,450 passengers and crew wanting to disembark. 

Australian passengers from the Vasco Da Gama are expected to arrive and be transferred to Wadjemup for quarantine on Friday morning. All other passengers will remain on the ship until plans have been finalised for them to return to their own countries of origin. 

The WA Premier said he is determined not to have a repeat of the Ruby Princess outbreak scenario in NSW and is working to stop passengers and crew from two additional cruise ship – the Magnifica and Artania – from docking at Fremantle.

Yesterday, the Magnifica refuelled at Fremantle and was set to travel to Dubai, however, the ship turned around and made its way back and is currently anchored off the coast of WA.

The state government said no one will disembark from the ship unless it is for medical reasons.  

The Artania has no Australians on board and there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 from a former passenger. WA health department officials boarded the ship to test passengers and it has been reported 25 passengers have respiratory illness.

Test results are expected for Wednesday evening.

WA closes its borders as Wadjemup is cleared for potential quarantine zone
The state government ramps up its measures to protect West Australians, declaring Wadjemup (Rottnest Island) a quarantine zone as the total confirmed coronavirus cases climbs over 100.