Grand final plans unchanged despite NSW truck driver's positive COVID test after WA trip

The AFL grand final will still take place without restrictions in Perth despite a suspected COVID-positive truck driver entering Western Australia last week.

© Hamish Hastie WA Premier Mark McGowan, Health Minister Roger Cook, Police Commissioner Chris Dawson, Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson, press conference Perth lockdown July 2, 2021. Picture: Hamish Hastie

The New South Wales truck driver returned a negative test on September 13 before driving with a co-driver across the country and entering WA on September 16.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said it was understood the drivers slept in their truck and had minimal contact with others and followed health directions.

“The drivers have informed WA Health that they wore masks at all times when they were out of the truck. This has been confirmed by CCTV footage at least one location,” he said.

On September 19, the driver returned a positive COVID test back in NSW.

The second driver has so far returned negative tests, which Mr Cook said was encouraging.

The drivers made stops in several country WA towns and exposure sites will be updated on the Healthy WA website.

WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said there were no changes to COVID rules being contemplated, including at Saturday’s grand final.

“In terms of the risk profile, and I expect that we’ll get questions for instance about the AFL grand final, there is no change that has been planned in respect of the conduct of the game, or indeed any other conditions,” he said.

Acting WA Chief Health Officer Paul Armstrong said the risk at the moment was “quite low”.

“This chap slept in his vehicle; he was vaccinated once so that gives a level of protection; his only close contact that we have found so far, he’s also tested negative,” he said.

Video: Another truck driver tests positive to COVID in South Australia (ABC NEWS)

“So we think overall it’s low risk, but our contact tracing team will be doing the best this afternoon to work out what others he may have been in contact with.”

“Whether he was infected on his way back to New South Wales or on his way to Western Australia that’s not really clear yet.

“His level of these tests showed quite low-level results, which could mean it was an early or a late test.”

Earlier this month the WA government introduced tough new rules for truck drivers entering WA from high or extreme risk states such as New South Wales and Victoria.

Drivers from these states will have to return a negative COVID test within three days before crossing the border or submit to a rapid antigen test at the border.

Any driver who does not have a negative result or does not have a rapid antigen test will not be permitted to enter WA.

Those rules came after two COVID-positive truck drivers from New South Wales entered the state in late August.

No other cases resulted from those drivers’ trip to WA.

The most recent case and his co-driver did not undergo rapid antigen tests at the border because they had returned a negative result in the three days prior.

Earlier in the day, Mr Cook announced it would be mandatory for all port workers to have had at least their first dose of the vaccine before they can access “exposed” vessels.

“Shipping provides Western Australians with vital imports, as well as ensuring our highly lucrative exports are carried across the globe, but these vessels also bring with them the risk of importing COVID-19 into our community,” he said.

“We need to be ever-vigilant and continue our best efforts to keep the virus out.

“This is why it has been decided that port workers who interact with exposed vessels must now be vaccinated.

“They are on the frontline, up and down our coast, and we need to keep them and our community safe.”

The WA government also announced that from this week West Australians could drop in to selected pharmacies and receive a free Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

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