The AMA estimates the number of cases in WA may be up to 10 times higher than testing shows.

Mr McGowan said WA lifted restrictions based on the advice of the state’s chief medical officer that it was safe to do so. There was no detailed modelling behind the decision, although WA has just 55 active cases and has recorded no new cases in the past two days.

Of the 55 active cases, only 30 are West Australians with most of the remainder non-Australians from the Artania cruise ship.

WA has eased restrictions on elective surgery and reacted to pressure from property developers and the home building and real estate sectors by lifting bans on home opens and display villages.

Bans on restaurants, pubs and cafes remain in place, but most workplaces have been told staff can return as long as distancing rules are applied.

Mr McGowan, whose wife is a teacher, said his children would be attending class when WA schools reopened on Wednesday despite the concerns of the state’s teacher union.

Dr Miller said he would not be sending children to school unless personal circumstances made it absolutely necessary based on globally accepted estimates that schools were the source of about 10 per cent of COVID-19 cases.

“The (WA) government can’t possibly guarantee that there is going to be social distancing, it can’t guarantee there is going to be good hygiene,” he said. “This thing can survive on books and desks for a long time.”

Dr Miller said the WA government needed to test many more people and should start target testing groups like health care workers, teachers and supermarket workers.

He said WA should revert back to the strict restrictions previously in place at the first sign of community spread or unexplained cases not linked to overseas travel.

“Right now we should be coming out with a community surveillance program designed to go out and take samples from places we think might be at risk,” Dr Miller said.

Coronavirus: Need to know. Our daily reporting, in your inbox.

Sign up now

By user