19/12/2020 - 17:37

WA closed to NSW travellers

19/12/2020 - 17:37

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WA closed to NSW travellers

The hard border with NSW will go back up at midnight tonight as the Sydney outbreak of COVID-19 continues to grow.

Premier Mark McGowan announced this afternoon that the time had come to close the border to NSW, just two days after putting in place a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine period for people arriving from Australia's most populous state.

NSW is now classified as a "medium risk" jurisdiction for COVID by WA.

Earlier today, Health Minister Roger Cook held a press conference at which he said the total number of travellers from Sydney’s northern beaches to WA since the outbreak started had reached 92.

Of those travellers, 24 had already returned to NSW, while 68 remained in self-quarantine in WA.

Mr McGowan said only people who met strict exemption criteria would be allowed to come to WA from NSW after midnight tonight.

He said the decision was based on the latest health advice and followed an emergency meeting this afternoon that was set up to consider advice from WA's Acting Chief Health Officer, who had consulted with NSW Health and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

The ban on arrivals will also extend to anyone who has been in NSW since December 11 and has not already completed 14 days of quarantine in a lower risk state or territory.

Those who may qualify for exemptions include: certain senior Government officials, certain active military personnel, a member of the Commonwealth Parliament, a person carrying out functions under a law of the Commonwealth, a person responsible for transport freight or logistics; and anyone who is given approval by State Emergency Coordinator or an authorised officer.

The state government will also consider granting an exemption on compassionate reasons, including to those Western Australians who may have travelled to New South Wales recently and need to return to WA. But those people will require a police assessment and have to complete 14 days of self-quarantine on arrival.

“I know these changes are going to be hard to take for many people, Mr McGowan said. “I know it will throw Christmas and reunion plans into disarray, if that hadn’t happened already."

 

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