24/07/2020 - 15:26

Further delay on easing virus rules

24/07/2020 - 15:26

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The state government has again pushed back further easing of coronavirus restrictions to August 15, with Premier Mark McGowan noting the serious situation in Victoria and NSW.

Further delay on easing virus rules
Mark McGowan says Western Australia will not take part in Tasmania's "travel bubble" proposal. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

The state government has again pushed back further easing of coronavirus restrictions to August 15, with Premier Mark McGowan noting the serious situation in Victoria and NSW.

The premier also said Western Australia would not participate in Tasmania's proposed "travel bubble" with WA, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

The news comes two weeks after the state government rescheduled Phase Five of lifting COVID-19 restrictions from July 18 to August 1, which would have seen the removal of most virus controls.

That includes the removal of the state’s two square metre rule and 50 per cent-capacity limit on major venues like Optus Stadium.

Speaking at the Perth Cultural Centre today where a new museum will open in November, Mr McGowan said the state’s chief health officer had recommended a further delay.

“Western Australia led the nation in easing restrictions and that has allowed us to get back to normal in a COVID-safe way," the premier told reporters.

"There is no need to take any risks now."

Mr McGowan stressed August 15 was a tentative date only, with further confirmation to be provided early in the month.

“We are unashamedly being extra cautious here. It is the responsible and sensible decision to take," he said.

“We have come so far as a state, there’s no need to risk everything we’ve worked for, for the sake of two weeks.”

Mr McGowan said delaying phase five of easing COVID-19 restrictions would send a strong message to the public that WA was not out of the woods yet, noting the situation in Victoria and NSW.

Victoria had reported 300 new infections and seven new deaths overnight, bringing the nation's death toll to 140.

The news came as Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein announced a "travel bubble" with WA, South Australia and the Nothern Territory, which would come into effect on August 7.

He said the decision was made after a review and assessment by public health officials.

Mr McGowan, however, was firm on WA maintaining its hard border with the other states.

"We are not going to compromise our borders, we are not going to change our arrangements," he said.

"We’re going to protect Western Australians against infection coming in, and in so doing, allow our economy to open up far more so than any other state in Australia."

Mr McGowan said WA currently had more economic activity than any other state in Australia.

"We have far more cafes, restaurants bars open, with people employed," he said

"Obviously by opening up the borders, we reduce that confidence and therefore we would potentially harm our economy.

"So we’re not going to do it. I understand a lot of people would like to see that happen but it’s not part of our agenda."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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