Mark McGowan Announces WA Border Opening Delay

Mark McGowan Press Conference - Perth COVID-19 Update
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Mark McGowan Announces WA Border Opening Delay

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Mark McGowan Press Conference - Perth COVID-19 Update

Mark McGowan calls last-minute press conference to announce WA’s border opening will be delayed due to concerns over Omicron.

The Western Australian public tonight has been informed the WA border will not be opening on February 5th and will be delayed due to concerns over Omicron.

The news comes after earlier today WA Health recorded five new local cases of COVID-19 in WA to 8pm last night.

Four of the local cases are contacts of previously reported cases. Two of those cases have been in quarantine and two have been potentially infectious in the community.

What was of greatest concern though for WA Health was that the fifth case, identified overnight, has currently not been linked to any known cases and has been infectious in the community.

“Omicron is a whole new ballgame. It is a new state of emergency. We can’t just shut our eyes and hope that it’s not different,” said Mr McGowan.

“Allowing hundreds or thousands of Omicron infected people to fly straight into Perth from 5 February, with no testing, no quarantine and no public health measures, would cause a flood of COVID-19 across our State.

It would cause a surge in cases, a surge in hospitalisations and result in thousands of people not being able to work or go to school. It would cripple our community, like it’s doing on the east coast.”

Currently, Western Australia has achieved 25.8% third dose vaccination for individuals aged 16 and over.

“Getting vaccinated, including getting your third dose when you are due, is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

“These updated measures will hopefully give more Western Australians the opportunity to get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before the virus has a chance to take hold in our community,” said Mr McGowan.

There will however be changes to the WA hard border which will allow for more and safer travel into Western Australia due to enhanced compassionate exemptions.

The press conference marked the first time the Premier had addressed the state in the evening since announcing the end of a lockdown in April 2021.

“It would be reckless and irresponsible to open up now,” said Mr McGowan.

What will happen on February 5th

From 12:01am on Saturday February 5, a new hard border will be in place with a focus on both safety and compassion.

Under the new hard border settings, approved travellers are permitted to enter WA, or leave WA and return, with testing and quarantine requirements under the new expanded exemption criteria:

  • Returning Western Australians, with strong recent connections or direct legitimate family connections with WA
  • Compassionate grounds including funeral, palliative care or terminally ill visitation
  • Member of the family of an approved traveller
  • People entering for urgent and essential medical treatment
  • Reasons of national and state security
  • Commonwealth and State officials, Members of Parliament, Diplomats
  • Provision of specialist skills not available in WA, health services, emergency service workers
  • People required to attend court matters, judicial officers and staff of court, tribunals and commissions
  • Special considerations and extraordinary circumstances determined by the State Emergency Coordinator or Chief Health Officer.

Interstate Travel

If you’re coming from interstate as an approved traveller, you will need to meet the following requirements

  • Have an approved G2G Pass, under new exemption criteria
  • Be triple dose vaccinated if eligible (double dose vaccinated if not eligible for third)
  • Provide proof of a negative Rapid Antigen Test within 24 hours before departure
  • Undertake 14 days of self-quarantine at a suitable premises, with the same requirements for household members at the self-quarantine premises
  • PCR testing within 48 hours of arrival and on day 12 of self-quarantine, and household members will also be required to do a PCR test on the traveller’s day 12
  • Subject to mandatory use of G2G Now and in-person checks by WA Police as required

Additional requirements are in place for domestic road travel to keep WA safe:

  • Approved domestic travellers to limit travel to 1,500km from road borders, to enable people to travel by road to suitable premises for quarantine in Perth from Eucla
  • Entry at the Kununurra border only for transport, freight and logistics and border community residents
  • Restricted travel into remote Aboriginal communities.

International Travel

International travel into WA will be permitted with the following requirements:

  • Meet the Commonwealth requirements to enter Australia under the arrivals cap
  • Undertake 14 days of mandatory quarantine including, seven days in hotel quarantine and seven days of self-quarantine at suitable premise, if eligible
  • PCR testing on days one, six, nine and 12, and household members will also be required to do a PCR test on the traveller’s day 12
  • Subject to mandatory use of G2G Now and in-person checks by WA Police as required
  • International travel in-directly into WA via another state or territory will be subject to the same entry and quarantine requirements as domestic travellers.

Future review of border controls will be considered over the course of the next month.

More to come.

Watch: Mark McGowan Press Conference

Premier Mark McGowan and Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson provide Western Australia with an important COVID-19 update.

For further government updates visit wa.gov.au.

Stay up to date with the latest Perth COVID updates and Perth news on SoPerth.com.au.

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