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Mark McGowan says FIFO workers, among others, will be exempt from the restrictions. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

COVID-19 daily wrap: Premier announces hard border closure

  • Western Australia’s borders will officially close to the eastern states at midnight on Sunday, Premier Mark McGowan announced this afternoon, citing a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Kimberley.
  • "In effect we’ll be turning Western Australia into an island within an island, our own country," Mr McGowan said. 
  • The premier said a number of exemptions would be permitted. These would apply to health services, emergency services workers, transport freight and logistics, specialist skills not available in WA, national state security and governance, and courts and judicial services.
  • FIFO workers and their families will also be exempt from the restrictions, but will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon entering WA.
  • BHP WA Iron Ore Asset president (acting) Tim Day said the mining giant supported the state government's decision and was well prepared for the stronger border controls. Measures implemented across BHP's WA sites include the relocation of interstate workers to WA, amending rosters to minimise travel to the Pilbara, restricting FIFO workers from entering the townships of Newman and Port Hedland, increasing the use of charter flights and increasing the use of health screening.
  • Other mining companies have taken similar steps to prepare for the changes.
  • The state’s current restrictions require those who come to WA to self-isolate for 14 days. Mr McGowan said it made sense to go further and close the border, noting six new infections in the Kimberley, bringing the region's total to 11 COVID-19 cases, with further results being awaited.
  • WA’s confirmed COVID-19 case total has reached 400, with eight new infections in the past 24 hours. This compares to 28 new cases announced yesterday. 
  • “The numbers continue to highlight the measures taken so far are starting to have an impact, but by no means can we take our foot off the petal,” Mr McGowan said.
  • All parents currently with children in childcare, including parents who are classified as 'non-essential' workers, will receive childcare for free as part of a new support program announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning.
  • Childcare centres will receive $1.6 billion over the next three months under the new arrangements.
  • There have been 244 new COVID-19 cases in Australia, bringing the nation's total to 5,108. Australia's death toll has reached 24, following two deaths in Victoria and one in Queensland.
  • Spain has become the third country to record 100,000 confirmed cases, alongside Italy and the US.
  • The US is approaching 200,000 confirmed infections, and the world approaching 1 million.
  • The UK recorded 563 deaths in one day.
  • The CSIRO has begun the first stage of testing COVID-19 vaccines, under way at CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong. The testing is expected to take three months.
  • The federal government will make $123 million available over two financial years for measures to support Indigenous businesses and communities to increase their responses to COVID-19.

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