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WA upgrades hard border with South Australia

written by Hannah Dowling | December 3, 2021

The Western Australia government has again added increased border restrictions with South Australia, meaning fewer travellers will now be granted permission to enter the state.

As of 12:01am on Friday, WA upgraded South Australia’s border classification from “low risk” to “medium risk,” meaning travellers need an approved exemption in order to travel to the western state and will need to quarantine at home for 14 days.

All travellers with an approved exemption also need to be fully vaccinated, while all travellers aged 12 and over will also need to present proof of a negative COVID PCR test in the 72 hours prior to departure.

It comes after South Australia last week reopened its domestic borders with NSW, Victoria and the ACT, and subsequently saw a small spike in COVID-19 infections. WA had previously warned it might close its border to states that reopened to COVID hotspots, including South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.

The news comes just days after the Western Australia government first imposed quarantine requirements on all travellers from South Australia, after months of open borders.

“If you entered Western Australia after 1:15pm on Saturday 27/11/21 and have been in SA since 12:01am Tuesday 23/11/21 you will be required to self-quarantine at a suitable premises for 14 days after you were last in the SA,” WA police said in a text message to South Australian travellers.

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“You will also be required to present for COVID-19 testing within 48 hours of your arrival and on Day 12 after you were last in SA.

“Your existing G2G Pass will be rejected. You will be required to submit a new G2G Pass application.”

In light of the border change, WA is now currently only allowing quarantine-free arrivals from Tasmania and Queensland, however Premier Mark McGowan has again stated that this could change, once both states similarly reopen their borders to NSW and Victoria.

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“South Australia and shortly Queensland and Tasmania are going to open their borders,” he said.

“We’ve put in place measures with South Australia, if we have to with Queensland and Tasmania, we’ll do the same.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan said over the weekend that the decision was also based on concerns about the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, which has already been confirmed in a small number of returned overseas travellers in NSW.

“There is a great deal of uncertainty about the recently emerged Omicron variant, so it is important Western Australia has strong protections in place for states which have relaxed their international borders,” Mr McGowan said.

“The new variant emerged in southern Africa and is now understood to have been detected in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

“With little known about the variant, it is important we act with an abundance of caution in dealing with potential spread into WA from overseas travellers arriving in other states.”

It comes after the federal government introduced a number of new restrictions on overseas arrivals, in light of the discovery of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Under the new restrictions, all international travellers will be forced to get a COVID test upon arrival and self-isolate for 72 hours.

Further, arrivals from nine countries, including South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, The Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique, will be forced to enter a 14-day hotel quarantine.

Flights from these countries into Australia have been temporarily suspended.

Additionally, all overseas arrivals will now be required to declare a list of all the countries that they have visited within the last 14 days prior to arrival in Australia, on top of existing entry requirements, which include proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test result.

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