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A local resident takes a picture of the bushfire and Perth city center on her phone on Tuesday. Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images

A massive uncontained bushfire has destroyed at least 30 homes in the Perth Hills, Western Australia, officials told the Australian Broadcasting corporation Tuesday.

Why it matters: Per state Premier Mark McGowan, "Right now WA is battling two different kinds of emergencies — a dangerous fire emergency and a COVID-19 lockdown emergency." He said there are "threats to lives and homes" from the wildfire.

Details: Police Commissioner Chris Dawson, who is the WA state emergency coordinator, told a briefing it's OK for those in fire-affected areas to go to a family member's house. That's despite COVID-19 restrictions requiring people to stay home unless there's an essential reason like grocery shopping.

  • "If you're in that fire zone, don't hesitate, we don't want people to be so cautious that they or their loved ones are put under threat," he said.
  • Since the wildfire broke out on Perth's fringes overnight, the blaze has so far razed some 17,000 acres amid hot, gusty conditions, fire officials said.

For the record: State capital Perth and other parts of WA entered a five-day lockdown after a security guard contracted COVID-19 from a newly returned traveler in managed hotel quarantine.

  • The guard's case remains the only one in the community in the state.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Biden to meet with 10 GOP senators for coronavirus relief talks

Combination images of President Biden and Republican Sen. Susan Collins. Photos: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images, Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden will on Monday meet at the White House with a group of 10 Republican senators who are seeking a bipartisan deal on coronavirus relief.

Driving the news: White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that after receiving a letter earlier Sunday from the Republicans, led by Sen. Susan Collins, Biden spoke with the Maine senator and invited them to the White House "for a full exchange of views."

Feb 1, 2021 - Health

Chilling trend: A longer, deadlier pandemic

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Mutated versions of the coronavirus threaten to prolong the pandemic, perhaps for years — killing more people and deepening the global economic crisis in the process.

The big picture: The U.S. and the world are in a race to control the virus before these variants can gain a bigger foothold. But many experts say they already expect things to get worse before they get better. And that also means an end to the pandemic may be getting further away.