WA will open its domestic and international borders on 5 February 2022 after the state hit the 80 per cent double jabbed milestone this morning.
International arrivals will be asked to present a negative PCR test before their journey and take another test after arrival, while interstate travellers will also require a test.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said his state was the “envy of the world” by avoiding large scale lockdowns or COVID outbreaks.
“When Saturday, February 5 arrives, it’s important to remember COVID-19 does not magically go away,” he said.
McGowan also pledged to review the settings, which only apply to the fully vaccinated, every four weeks. The opening date will mark 616 days since restrictions were first implemented.
Throughout the pandemic, WA has had some of the strictest border rules in Australia, including at one point instigating an “extreme risk” closure that refused most people access even to attend funerals.
The news comes on the day Queensland reopened to all interstate arrivals after it hit its own 80 per cent fully vaccinated milestone last week.
“Never did I think that we would be in such a good position,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said of Queensland’s vaccination rates. “I could not be more proud.”
It also comes as Australia’s Health Minister, Greg Hunt, confirmed the federal government had rubber-stamped plans to open the international border to overseas students and some migrants on 15 December after being delayed by two weeks due to fears over Omicron.
It means that from Wednesday, international students and tourists from Japan and South Korea will be able to enter the country, alongside non-residents holding certain working visas. However, Queensland is still asking arrivals to home quarantine for two weeks, and NSW and Victoria for 72 hours.
It follows mixed reactions to the Omicron variant worldwide. Minister Hunt has said “the advice continues to be that all of our vaccines provide strong, clear protection against serious illness, hospitalisation and loss of life”, mirroring similar comments by the US’ pandemic adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci.
The UK, however, has asked Brits to work from home, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning a “tidal wave” of Omicron cases is on the way.