Prime Minister pushes all States and Territories towards COVID normal.
WA may not have signed onto the National Re-opening Framework, but from today people from all over the country can enter the State.
Of those, people from NSW and Victoria will need to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.
But Health Minister Roger Cook was clear the State Government would “slap back” restrictions should outbreaks occur.
Despite the warning, Scott Morrison said he had “no doubt” WA would remain open and not need to put a hard border in place again.
“That’s what’s in the national interest and that’s what ‘s in Western Australia’s interest,” he said in Canberra on Friday.
“By staying safely open, you are giving confidence to businesses, to people in jobs, to people to make decisions about their future and what they’re going to do. Stop-start, stop-start does not provide that.”
He urged other States and Territories to stay the path and re-open by Christmas.
The only change to the National Re-opening Framework was in the plans to get international students back.
While the Framework signalled a goal of expanding pilot programs to bring students back into the country by the end of the year, Mr Morrison said this was now unlikely given how many Australians were still stranded abroad.
“Looking towards Christmas, I can’t give a commitment to the states that we’d be in a position to allow any, you know, broader entry of international students at this time,” he said.
“For those who would be seeking to come back, well, there is a queue, and Australians are in the front of the queue.”
It comes as the Federal Government released a national review into the country’s contact tracing system, led by Australia’s chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel.
Dr Finkel said the combination of contact tracing, which had improved from earlier this year, testing and quarantining meant that States could have confidence in the country’s ability to manage the virus without border restrictions coming back into place.
“I think that should give states — whether it’s the leadership or the population — confidence that Australia, certainly in comparison to the rest of the world, but also in an absolute sense, is in a good place,” he said.
The Federal Government also released its National Vaccination Policy, as phase two trials of numerous vaccines – including the one developed by the University of Queensland – show early success.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the data so far demonstrated the likelihood of a vaccine being available before July 2021.
Feature image: AAP Image/Lukas Coch
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