29/03/2021 - 12:45

Hard border for WA, Qld

29/03/2021 - 12:45

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Travellers from Queensland are now banned from entering Western Australia following 10 new cases of COVID-19 being reported in Brisbane overnight.

Hard border for WA, Qld
Mark McGowan (centre), alongside Roger Cook (left) and Chris Dawson. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Travellers from Queensland are now banned from entering Western Australia following 10 new cases of COVID-19 being reported in Brisbane overnight.

Of those cases, four have been directly linked to a known cluster.

Queensland health officials have said they expect more cases to be reported in the coming days.

That state will now enter a three-day lockdown to prevent spread of the highly contagious UK variant of the virus.

While health officials in Queensland had originally declined to implement a lockdown when a new case was reported on Friday, the evolving situation has led many states to implement similar restrictions.

NSW is now the only state at present not to restrict travel with the sunshine state.

Politicians, bureaucrats and transport workers will be exempted under the new guidelines, with others needing to seek approval through the state emergency coordinator.

Compassionate passes will still be granted.

All arrivals to WA will be asked to quarantine for 14 days and take COVID-19 tests upon arrival and on the 11th day of their quarantine period.

Premier Mark McGowan this afternoon said the move was based on the latest health advice.

"We've been monitoring the situation closely and have scaled-up our border controls as required, to keep our community safe," he said.

"The hard-border measure is necessary and is our best defence in keeping the virus out.

"It's going to be disruptive for many people and put many people's plans in disarray, however, we need to put the health of our WA community first.

"If you are a recent arrival from Queensland or are arriving today, before midnight, you are free to depart WA and return to Queensland.

"We are thinking of our friends and family in Queensland as they go into lockdown this evening, they are doing the right thing to keep Queensland safe and protect us all across the country."

Health Minister Roger Cook reiterated the need for Western Australians to continue practising good hygeine and personal distancing, calling the situation in a Queensland an alert to the potential for COVID-19 to emerge again in the community.

"WA has taken the approach to be extra cautious, based on the latest health advice; this approach has been extremely effective for more than a year now," he said.

"We thank everyone for their patience and understanding because we know these decisions can be disruptive.

"But they are decisions made with best of intentions to keep all Western Australians safe."

Western Australia's frontline healthcare workers, elderly and medically vulnerable populations may now access the COVID-19 vaccine.

Just 500,000 people are vaccinated in Australia, far short of the 4 million target set by the federal government.

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