14/10/2021 - 11:01

WA border unlikely to reopen until 2022: McGowan

14/10/2021 - 11:01

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The state government will reimpose capacity limits and masks when WA reopens its border, but Premier Mark McGowan said that was unlikely to occur until next year.

Mr McGowan said though details had not yet been refined, it was expected that public health safety measures would be implemented when WA eased its border restrictions. Photo: David Henry

The state government will reimpose capacity limits and masks when Western Australia reopens its borders, but Premier Mark McGowan said that was unlikely to occur until next year.

During a press conference this morning, Mr McGowan said though details had not yet been refined, it was expected that public health safety measures would be implemented when WA reopened its border with New South Wales and Victoria.

Both states are currently considered ‘extreme risk’, with travel restricted to Commonwealth, state and specialist officials.

“We will make announcements about that [reopening] when we get to high levels of vaccination, about exactly what the rules will be,” he said.

“But it may well be that for some venues you attend there are some capacity limits, including concerts, football and other major sporting events.

“It may be that in some locations, particularly crowds, there is a requirement to wear masks.

“But we haven’t refined that detail yet. What we need to do in the meantime is get people vaccinated as much as we can while we get to that point.”

With New South Wales having only recently reopened parts of its economy after a months-long lockdown, and Victoria reporting 2,297 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths today, Mr McGowan said the state government would wait before making any decisions.

“That’s the very clear advice from the state’s chief health officer and I think that’s the bleeding obvious,” he said.

“My expectation is that we wouldn’t reopen to those states until next year, and that’s based on the need for us to get to very high levels of vaccination before such time as we can do so.”

Meanwhile, WA continues to trail behind the rest of the nation in the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, with just 73.3 per cent of those eligible having received their first dose and 54.7 per cent full vaccinated.

While refusing to set a vaccination deadline, Mr McGowan indicated that vaccines could soon be made mandatory in a range of other workforces.

Earlier this month, Mr McGowan announced vaccine mandates for the state’s mining sector, which applies to all those working across the state's resources sites, remote operations or in critical infrastructure; as well as visitors.

More than 140,000 fly-in, fly-out workers will be required to have their first dose by December 1 and be fully-vaccinated by January 1, 2022.

Mr McGowan said the move was a natural extension of the mandating of vaccines in various sectors, including healthcare, hotel quarantine and the state’s ports, and followed significant consultation with union representatives and industry.

On Sunday, mandatory vaccines for WA's primary and community healthcare workers were announced, with the first dose to be administered by November 1.

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