Western Australia has tightened its border restrictions by declaring NSW an ‘extreme risk’ and adding a ban on travellers from New Zealand.
However, the state’s Health Minister, Roger Cook, also revealed he would lighten the border restrictions with Queensland and SA. The updates will come into effect at 12:01am, 26 August.
While Queensland and South Australia have reported no COVID-19 cases, NSW reported a peak of 919 and New Zealand’s infections grew by 61.
The outbreak in New Zealand – cases now up to 148 – has pushed Western Australia to elevate its jurisdiction from ‘low risk’ to ‘medium risk’ and implement a hard border, according to the update.
“Travel from New Zealand will no longer be permitted unless you are an approved traveller,” said the WA government in its media statement.
Exemptions will be made for certain senior government officials, active military personnel, a member of Commonwealth Parliament, a person carrying out specialist functions or a person given approval by the State Emergency Coordinator.
Approved travellers will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, present a negative test within 48 hours or if any symptoms develop during isolation and a test on day 12 after arrival in WA.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said, “The various outbreaks in Australia and in New Zealand are heartbreaking and our thoughts are with everyone impacted.”
South Australia will transition from ‘low risk’ to ‘very low risk’ due to its streak of no new cases.
The hard border on Queensland will reduce to ‘low risk’ from ‘medium risk’ after the state has not reported a new case in over a week.
Travel from NSW will not be permitted from tonight due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant, and Minister Cook said the “situation in NSW is dire.
“The COVID-19 outbreak is out of control and we need to make sure that we can protect the West Australian community,” he said.
“We need to stay vigilant with outbreaks growing as the deadly Delta strain continues to wreak havoc.”
On 18 August, Premier McGowan warned he would not hesitate to increase restrictions between NSW and WA if the cases continued to increase.
He added then that travelers who received an exemption would still be under tight restrictions, limiting their movements in the community.
Since 14 August when NSW moved into the ‘high risk’ category, 2,000 approved travellers have entered into WA, and a further 318 are due to arrive on Wednesday before the new ban.
He added WA police would still have authority to grant exemptive approvals for travel for extraordinary cases and would not “speculate on what sort of specific circumstances” they were.
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