AMA warns WA could soon have up to 60,000 new Covid-19 cases per day without tough restrictions

Angie RaphaelNCA NewsWire
WA has so far escaped largely unscathed from the pandemic. NCA NewsWire/Andrew Henshaw
Camera IconWA has so far escaped largely unscathed from the pandemic. NCA NewsWire/Andrew Henshaw Credit: News Corp Australia

Western Australia could record up to 60,000 cases of Omicron per day unless tough restrictions are imposed, a senior doctor has warned.

Australian Medical Association president Mark Duncan-Smith told reporters restrictions should include density limits at venues, home visitors capped at 10 people, no singing or dancing at public places except weddings, and working from home if possible.

WA authorities are yet to release the modelling for the state following the impact of Omicron across the country, but Dr Duncan-Smith says his 60,000 figure stems from the South Australian government’s modelling.

“I am calling immediately for the Premier to move towards increased restrictions,” he said on Monday.

“The SA modelling has been described as alarmingly accurate by their Premier.

“Using population-adjusted figures, comparing that to WA, if we don’t increase restrictions now we will be facing somewhere between 50,000 to 60,000 new Omicron cases per day at our peak.

“That will occur sometime in March to April.”

Dr Duncan-Smith said introducing restrictions early could slash the number of cases by 10,000 per day.

“WA’s medical system needs to be protected. It doesn’t have the capacity to deal with Covid without reducing business as usual,” he said.

“We’re coming off the lowest number of beds per head of population and the lowest number of ICU beds per head of population of any state or territory in Australia.

“These measures are necessary now to reduce the peak, so that we don’t get a tidal wave of severe disease flooding our medical system.”

The WA border is currently set to reopen on February 5, although some have called for that to be delayed.

Dr Duncan-Smith denied he was being alarmist but Premier Mark McGowan said he had not seen “information to that effect”.

The Australian Nursing Federation has also called for tougher restrictions.

COVID PARLIAMENT
Camera IconWA has so far escaped largely unscathed from the pandemic. NCA NewsWire/Andrew Henshaw Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr McGowan said the most important thing West Australians could do at the moment was get tested.

“We need more testing. We need to understand if there’s cases out there so we can trace the people that they may have been in contact with so we can get people into quarantine as quickly as possible,” he told reporters on Monday.

“You’ve got to remember, we put in place mask-wearing immediately, as quickly as possible and far quicker than any other state has ever done.

“The other thing about going very hard on all of the public health social measures for instance, stopping people going out, putting in place restrictions on venues ... if you do all that too early, then you lose the capacity to step up.

“You also get people tiring of the rules and potentially engaging in noncompliance at the point in time you need people to comply in the future.”

On Sunday, the mask mandate was reintroduced for public indoor places in the Perth and Peel regions.

Originally published as AMA warns WA could soon have up to 60,000 new Covid-19 cases per day without tough restrictions

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails