Fears ‘inaccurate’ tests in India could see coronavirus flooding into Australia as Mark McGowan reveals 78 of 79 passengers on infected flight had been in the Covid-ravaged country
- He said all but one passenger on flight from Kuala Lumpur was in India recently
- Malaysia Airlines flight MH125 had arrived in Perth from the city on April 24
- Mr McGowan said four hotel quarantine cases on Tuesday were from the flight
- He has called for the federal government to suspend flights out of the country
Nearly ever single passenger on a Covid-infected flight into Perth on Saturday had recently been in India, as Mark McGowan hits out at the accuracy of Covid-19 testing in the virus-ravaged nation.
The Western Australia premier confirmed four cases of the virus were found in hotel quarantine on Tuesday – all of whom flew into the city from Kuala Lumpur on April 24.
In total, 78 of the 79 passengers onboard the Malaysia Airlines flight MH125 had recently been in India, Mr McGowan confirmed.
The country is battling a deadly surge in coronavirus infections with infected patients dying on the streets outside hospitals, with 352,991 new cases on Monday alone.
Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan (pictured on Tuesday) has hit out at the accuracy of Covid-19 testing in India after it emerged all but one passenger on a flight into Perth on Saturday from Kuala Lumpur was from the virus-crippled nation
‘I have just been advised at this morning’s emergency management team meeting that 78 of the 79 passengers on this flight had been in India recently,’ he said.
‘Our expectation is the number of positive cases from this group of people will grow and potentially grow significantly.’
He said the accuracy of the Covid-19 testing methods could not be trusted.
‘We obviously have a problem with India,’ he said.
‘Some of the tests conducted in India either aren’t accurate or aren’t believable and clearly that’s causing some issues here.’
The WA premier said while he sympathised with the situation in India, his priority had to be the Western Australian community.
‘It’s obviously a diabolical situation that is going on in India at the moment, but it does put extreme pressure on our systems here in Western Australia and indeed in other states,’ he said.
‘I’m advised that other states are going through exactly the same experience.’
Mr McGowan has meanwhile urged the Federal Government to suspend flights out of India, describing the South Asian nation as the ‘epicentre of death and destruction’.
Four cases of Covid-19 were found in hotel quarantine on Tuesday. All of the confirmed cases had flown into Perth on flight MH125 from Kuala Lumpur on Saturday (pictured is a file of a Malaysia Airlines plane)
Pedestrians walk through a pedestrian overpass from Perth train station on Tuesday after lockdown restrictions were eased in the city and the neighbouring Peel region
Morning commuters are seen on a platform at the Perth train station wearing face masks on Tuesday. Perth residents must still wear a face covering in outdoor and indoor public settings as part of the eased restrictions
‘There needs to be a suspension,’ Mr McGowan told reporters.
‘It’s a big risk to our hotel quarantine system and you can see the consequences.’
Interim restrictions remain in place in WA until 12.01am on Saturday, including the mandatory wearing of face masks and limits on gatherings.
Two locally acquired infections were found from more than 29,000 tests after the virus leaked out of Perth’s Mercure quarantine hotel.
WA’s health department was aware of ventilation issues at the Mercure but had believed the risk could be mitigated.
The outbreak has renewed hotel quarantine concerns and prompted calls for the federal government to invest in purpose-built facilities.
Relatives and municipal workers prepare to bury the body of a person who died of Covid-19 in Gauhati, north-eastern India, on Sunday
In this aerial picture taken on April 26, burning pyres of victims who lost their lives due to the Covid-19 coronavirus are seen at a cremation ground in New Delhi
Mr McGowan also reiterated his desire for the Commonwealth to open air bases and Christmas Island to accommodate returned travellers.
He earlier accused the federal government of wanting the states to ‘do all the work’ in managing returned travellers.
‘If they are not prepared to do it, we will just have to drop the number of returning people into Australia,’ he said on Monday.