Bushfires rage in coronavirus lockdown Western Australia

A bushfire raging in the Western Australian city of Perth has forced residents to evacuate, as the city remains in a coronavirus lockdown.

At least 59 homes have been destroyed by the blaze, which has been fanned by strong winds. Officials say six firefighters have had minor injuries.

People have been told to flee to safety even if it means breaking lockdown.

But as more than 200 firefighters battled the blaze, some residents were warned that it was too late to leave.

People living in areas where it was deemed too dangerous to evacuate were told to “shelter in a room away from the fire front and make sure you can easily escape.”

Others in affected areas were urged to flee for safety as soon as possible.

“Whether you are in lockdown or have been personally directed to quarantine for Covid-19, you must do whatever you need to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe,” the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said. Western Australian (WA) Premier Mark McGowan earlier said the state was facing an “extremely concerning and serious” situation.

“Right now WA is battling two different kinds of emergencies – a dangerous fire emergency and a Covid-19 lockdown emergency,” he said.

He urged the majority of the state capital’s residents not in harm’s way of the fire to remain in their homes to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

Western Australia reported no new local infections on Tuesday beyond the initial case. But the city of two million people entered a snap five-day lockdown on Sunday after that case was found.

Authorities tracked down 151 close contacts of the infected person, a man in his 20s who worked as a hotel quarantine guard and also as a ride-share driver.