Western Australia will take down its hard border with the rest of Australia and introduce a "controlled" interstate border from 14 November, allowing those from "very low risk" states and territories to travel into WA.
This means those from South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory will be permitted to enter WA without completing 14 days of hotel quarantine.
As New South Wales and Victoria are still recording locally acquired cases of COVID-19, WA's health authorities have deemed them as "low risk", meaning those travelling into the state will have to complete 14 days of quarantine on arrival in a "suitable premises".
WA implemented a hard border with the rest of the country on 2 April, essentially banning anyone from travelling to WA except for those with exemptions.
The WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) says the move can be made because of the low numbers of cases in Australia's eastern states.
"Based on that health advice and the rates of local infection in the eastern states we are now at the next step of our journey to safely transition from our hard border to a new controlled interstate border," McGowan said.
"The existing hard border exemption system will be removed and replaced with a controlled interstate border regime established on an updated nationwide health based threshold.
"The time is right, the conditions are right, and I'm very confident our controlled border arrangements strike the right balance."
While the new measures are expected to come into effect on 14 November, McGowan says he will be closely monitoring the situation in the rest of the country right up to the last minute.
"If we need to delay this introduction of the controlled border then we will," McGowan said.
"We are prepared to delay the introduction of the controlled border right up to the last minute."
The new system for those in "very low risk" states is conditional, with certain rules in place for travellers depending on where they come from.
For those coming from "very low risk" states, meaning states that have gone 28 days without recording any locally acquired cases of COVID-19, the following conditions will be imposed:
- Travellers will undergo a health screening and temperature test on arrival;
- They will need to be prepared to take a COVID-19 test at a new clinic in Perth Airport if health officials deem it necessary;
- They will need to sign a declaration stating they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and which jurisdictions they have been in during the last 14 days;
- And they will receive an SMS one week into their arrival in WA telling them to get tested for COVID-19 if symptomatic.
For those coming from "low risk" states, meaning states with less than five community cases per day on a 14-day rolling average (NSW and VIC), they must comply with all the above conditions and:
- Self-quarantine in a "suitable premises" for two weeks;
- Present for a COVID-19 test on day 11 of the quarantine period.
Those who do not comply could be hit with a $1,000 fine per infringement.
"We know how quickly things can change," McGowan said.
"I will have no hesitation to reintroduce the hard border if that's what's needed to protect the health of Western Australians."
Updated at 4.45pm AEDT 30 October 2020.
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