Premier Mark McGowan has urged the federal government to resume national cabinet to discuss COVID-19 and the roll-out of a vaccine in the coming months.
Premier Mark McGowan has urged the federal government to resume national cabinet to discuss matters related to COVID-19, including international border arrangements and the roll-out of a vaccine.
During a press conference this morning, Mr McGowan called for cabinet to reconvene to discuss the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, which is now expected to be available in early March for frontline workers and those working in hotel quarantine.
“I would urge the commonwealth to recall national cabinet to discuss this and other issues,” he said.
“Clearly the roll-out of the vaccine nationally is something we should all work on together.
“We also need to discuss the UK variant and what we can do to protect Australians.
“Clearly, the quicker a vaccine is rolled out, the safer our country will be.
“That’s one of the reasons we should have a national cabinet meeting as soon as possible.”
The call comes after confirmation this week that three returned travelers in WA hotel quarantine tested positive for the UK strain of the virus, which is reportedly up to 70 per cent more infectious.
While acknowledging that international borders were a matter for the federal government, Mr McGowan said he believed travelers should be tested prior to boarding a flight to Australia.
“What we have said, and I want to reemphasise this, is that people coming out of Britain and the United States should get tested prior to leaving,” he said.
“We should get negative results prior to them boarding a plane with up to 250 other Australians – that’s the first thing that should happen.
“As I said, in the US and Europe, there can be a test done prior to boarding an aircraft.
“If the test comes back positive, I don’t think people should board the aircraft.
“In terms of banning people arriving from Britain, if the national health advisors suggested that, then I would support that.
“At this point in time, we don’t have that recommendation.
“These are the sorts of things I think we should discuss at a national cabinet level.”
The state's emergency management committee was due to meet at midday today to discuss protocols for frontline workers after a nurse, paramedic and bus driver were forced into quarantine for failing to use the appropriate protective equipment while transferring recently returned travelers.
Mr McGowan stressed that the state's frontline workers had more than enough personal protective equipment and were well aware of their obligations.