WA delays Phase 5 easing of restrictions

WA delays Phase 5 easing of restrictions

Western Australia will delay its decision to enter phase 5 on its road to recovery, pushing back plans that would have removed the current 2sqm rule and 50 per cent capacity limits at major venues on 18 July.

WA Premier Mark McGowan told a press conference this new phase would now be set to start a fortnight later on 1 August, as a tentative date.

The decision was made in light of the worsening situation in Victoria, as well as hotel quarantine capacity constraints that will be alleviated somewhat by the National Cabinet decision today to cut weekly international flight arrivals in half starting Monday.

"Given the growing level of community spread over East and around the world, the risk of the virus returning with a vengeance is greater than ever before," he said.

"There is a real possibility that the virus could return to Western Australia. Believe me, I don't want to see that happen.

"I don't want to be reimposing restrictions. That's why we have put in place a series of new measures in recent days to reduce that risk as much as possible - by slowing the flow of arrivals, by making border controls even tougher, and imposing a mandatory testing regime, we're giving ourselves the best chance to prevent the virus from reemerging."

Additionally, further to indications made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison after today's National Cabinet meeting, Premier McGowan said all international arrivals would need to pay for their own 14 days of quarantine as of 17 July.

The Premier stood by the state government's stance to maintain its hard border, emphasising the policy had worked for the state just as the country's strong borders had helped keep Australia safer than other countries around the world. 

"With the fastest asing of restrictions in the country, our lives have effectively got back to normal and our economy is recovering, however our success in Western Australia has created new challenges and new risks," he said.

"In recent days and weeks we have seen a gradual increase in people seeking to come to Western Australia from overseas and interstate.

"To highlight the increase in interstate arrivals, in a 10-day period in June we had 2,705 arrivals by air for a range of reasons; more recently in the last 10 days we have seen 4,995 people from interstate arrive in Perth by air. The majority of these arrivals are from Melbourne and Sydney."

When asked whether the Federal Government had responded to his calls not to back Clive Palmer's High Court case against Western Australia's hard borders, Premier McGowan said he coudl not comment on matters discussed in National Cabinet. 

Tasmania delays border reopening 

Premier of Tasmania Peter Gutwein has deferred the reopening of the state's border by at least a week until 31 July.

The state will review the decision on 24 July, but in the meantime its borders to the rest of the country will be closed.

"We will only open up when we are confident the safety of Tasmanians ... that they aren't put at risk," says Gutwein.

Updated at 1pm AWST on 10 July 2020.

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