04/06/2020 - 10:42

Kimberley to reopen tomorrow

04/06/2020 - 10:42

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Western Australians will be able to travel to the Kimberley, Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and parts of the East Pilbara tomorrow after the federal government agreed to lift the state’s biosecurity restrictions, two weeks earlier than the anticipated deadline.

Mark McGowan has urged Western Australians to travel within the state. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Western Australians will be able to travel to the Kimberley, Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and parts of the East Pilbara tomorrow after the federal government agreed to lift the state’s biosecurity restrictions, two weeks earlier than the anticipated deadline.

Most regional travel restrictions in WA were lifted last month, with exceptions for biosecurity areas under the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015.

While popular destinations will reopen at midnight, access to the state’s 274 remote Aboriginal communities – including in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields regions – remains off limits.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said indigenous Australians living in remote communities were at a higher risk of getting COVID-19 than other Western Australians.

“All Western Australians are urged to be aware of the high vulnerability of remote communities and to follow the restrictions to help keep them safe,” he said.

The state government applied to lift the biosecurity restrictions, with no active cases of the virus in regional areas and no positive cases reported in remote communities.

Premier Mark McGowan said removing regional travel restrictions was part of WA's planned roadmap.

“I want to thank the Kimberley community for their patience and understanding throughout this process; it’s been extremely difficult for many people and many small businesses,” he said.

“I encourage Western Australians to now enjoy all of what our great state has to offer, and support local and regional businesses in the process.”

Phase three of WA’s planned roadmap to lifting coronavirus restrictions comes into effect this weekend.

Indoor gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed – and gatherings of up to 300 people in some settings – while cafes, restaurants and bars will reopen along with gyms, cinemas, and beauty services.

WA will also become the first state to reduce its four square metre rule (to two square metres).

The news comes as WA reported no new coronavirus cases overnight, with the states's total confirmed cases remaining at 592.

There are currently 25 active cases in WA, all of which are in quarantine except for one patient at a Perth hospital.

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