No lockdown as COVID case detected in Perth from FIFO worker, exposure sites released

WA Premier Mark McGowan says a very weak positive case has been detected in a FIFO worker, who may have been infectious in the community in Perth. 

The worker was at the airport at the same time as a positive Queensland case, and spent a week on the FMG Cloudbreak mine. 

He returned a positive result, then a negative result, and it is not clear if he was infectious while in the community. 

“He has recently been tested, the test results were very, very weak, tested positive then he tested negative,” Mr McGowan said.

“To further complicate matters, the FIFO worker had been COVID-positive back in March and April last year.

“There is some confusion, we don’t know if he is actually a shedder of the virus now, although that is unlikely.

“And we don’t actually know that he acquired it from the gentleman at the airport on the 20th of July, but that is the most plausible explanation we currently have.”

Mr McGowan said the man returned from the Cloudbreak mine on July 27, and was understood to have been in the areas of Greenwood and Fremantle. 

“What we are doing is compiling a list of potential sites where he has been, which we will publish as soon as we can,” he said.

A wide shot of Fremantle Hospital.
Fremantle Hospital has been identified as one of the exposure sites visited by the FIFO worker.(

ABC News: Jon Kerr


Mr McGowan said the government was also scaling up capacity at testing centres, and anyone with symptoms was urged to get tested. 

“The gentleman’s girlfriend has been tested and returned a negative result, which is good,” Mr McGowan said.

“We are currently working as quickly as we can.”

A COVID testing clinic with people queuing outside and staff wearing PPE.
Capacity is being increased at COVID testing centres, like the one at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.(

ABC News: Cy Millington


Lockdown unlikely but concern remains

Health Minister Roger Cook described it as an “unusual” case.

“He is now negative, so this is an unusual case,” he said.

“But because he did have those weak positive results and because he was at one of those exposure sites that the Queensland case was at, we think this in an appropriate course of action.

“There is no reason to believe that this will lead to a lockdown. But there is very much cause for concern.”

Potential exposure sites through Perth

Mr Cook said there were potential exposure sites in Subiaco, Greenwood and Fremantle.

Roger Cook wears a blue suit and red tie, standing at microphones talking to the media.
WA Health Minister Roger Cook said the man had three close contacts.(

ABC News: Rhiannon Shine


“This chap has been infected by the disease on a previous occasion, and the suspicion is that if he did acquire the virus again then there is a possibility he wasn’t infectious at all,” Mr Cook said.

“He was asymptomatic throughout his entire experience in relation to COVID-19 this time around.

“He has three very close contacts in relation to work, one of those has been tested and is also negative.” 

Mr McGowan said it was a highly unusual case, given the fact the man had already acquired COVID-19 last year.

“We found out about it today, I think there was some positive tests and negative tests, so trying to nail all that down I think is quite tricky,” he said. 

“We think he was positive over the course of the last 16 days, at what point in time he was positive, we’re not sure.

“And there’s also a strong prospect that he wasn’t actually infectious because he was COVID-positive early last year.

“You can actually have had COVID and when you get it again you’re not infectious.”

FMG carrying out contact tracing

FMG chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said the man was a contractor at Cloudbreak and not a direct employee.

Ms Gaines stands at a microphone.
FMG CEO Elizabeth Gaines says the company is carrying out contact tracing among workers.(

ABC News: Jarrod Lucas


“They were a specific maintenance contractor working for another company, working on a very specific piece of our OPF equipment,” Ms Gaines said.

“They obviously came back. They were going to work for another mining company and went and got tested.”

FMG expects to have contact tracing finished tomorrow.

“Contact tracing is … maybe a bit quicker for us because we have all the flight manifests, we know exactly who was on site, who was sleeping in a bed that night,” Ms Gaines said.

“It’s just a question of working out where they are in their roster cycle.”

Minister visited exposure site

WA’s Housing and Local Government Minister has been forced to leave Parliament and self-isolate after realising he has been at an exposure site.

John Carey was at Perth Airport, which has been identified as an exposure site by WA Health, on the morning of July 20.

In a statement, a spokesman for the minister said Mr Carey was fully vaccinated.

A close-up photo of WA Housing Minister John Carey with trees in the background.
Housing Minister John Carey is isolating and awaiting the results of a COVID test.(

ABC News: Eliza Laschon


“Upon becoming aware this afternoon, the minister followed all health advice,” the spokesman said.

“He put on a mask and immediately travelled to get a COVID test.

“The minister is now isolating at home and awaiting the results of that test.”

Get tested and isolate, Cook says

Anyone at the below sites at these times is urged to get tested and isolate immediately, until they receive a negative result, Mr Cook said.

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