09/01/2021 - 13:00

Hundreds return home as border closes

09/01/2021 - 13:00

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Hundreds return home as the state government reinstates its hard border with Queensland.

Premier Mark McGowan has advised Western Australians against travelling interstate. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Hundreds of Western Australians are expected to return home from Queensland today after the state government reinstated its hard border overnight.

The decision was made early yesterday after the highly contagious UK strain of COVID-19 was detected and saw the 7500 people who had arrived in WA from Queensland since January 2 forced into self-quarantine.

Premier Mark McGowan confirmed that 425 people were scheduled to arrive at Perth Airport today, the vast majority of whom are believed to be residents returning home.

But the number of people who actually board those flights could be much less, Mr McGowan said.

The number is a significant decrease from the 1400 passengers that arrived at Perth Airport yesterday and were given the option of returning to Queensland or completing 14 days of self-quarantine.

The Premier advised Western Australians against travelling interstate and asked recent arrivals to remain patient as COVID clinics worked to assist the thousands of people that will now be required to undergo testing before Tuesday.

“It only takes one case,” he said.

“That’s why we’re being so cautious and the measures we’re taking are so draconian.

“I am very sorry. There are thousands of lives disrupted and there are massive amounts of people who need to be tested.

“We’re ramping up our resources, but I would ask everyone to be patient.”

In a press conference held earlier today, Opposition leader Zak Kirkup reiterated his support for the state government's decision and said that the Liberal Party would support any measures that help to keep Western Australians safe.

"I understand that this border change will obviously be quite disruptive for a lot of people," he said.

"I know how difficult it might be for those hoping to return home, but ultimately what we need to do is make sure that we help to keep Western Australians safe from COVID-19.

"I think people understand that if they travel across the country for any reason, there are risks associated with that."

The Department of Health is in the process of ramping-up genome sequencing so that the origin of a case can be determined within 48 hours.

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