Western Australia will from Thursday reclassify New South Wales as a COVID-19 state “extreme risk”.
- WA will escalate NSW to a state of ‘extreme risk’ by midnight on Wednesday
- The amendment represents the most serious state border restrictions ever seen
- After Wednesday, NSW arrivals must undergo a 14-day hotel quarantine
Premier Mark McGowan said the five-day rolling average of cases in NSW is now 531, triggering the high-risk reclassification.
The change will introduce the most severe state border restrictions seen in Australia since the start of the pandemic, including mandatory hotel quarantine for NSW arrivals, very limited exemptions and three COVID-19 quarantine tests.
McGowan urged Western Australians to return before the deadline.
“That means Western Australians who want to come home have to do it now,” he said.
The toughest border yet with NSW
To return to WA, travelers must have had a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and show that they have had a negative test in the 72 hours before departure.
Flights with a total of 345 passengers are to arrive in Perth from NSW today.
Yesterday 114 people arrived, 114 on Wednesday, 58 on Tuesday and 110 on Monday.
McGowan said he understood that some people may have difficulty getting a COVID test returned in 72 hours due to the NSW outbreak.
As a result, WA Police and WA Health will now accept a negative test result outside this time frame if the test has been taken in recent days.
“I understand that this may be an anxious time for some, but the risk in New South Wales is too great and we need to take new steps to protect Western Australia to protect our state,” the Prime Minister said.
The door closes quickly for ordinary civilians who want to come home
Under an extreme risk classification, the only people allowed in the WA will be certain Commonwealth and government officials and people with special jobs.
It will no longer be possible for Western Australians to return on compassionate grounds.
But McGowan said people would be allowed out of NSW under the most “unusual or extraordinary circumstances”.
He did not explain what it would be, but confirmed that each case would be assessed by the “highest levels” of WA Police and WA Health.
He described the outbreak in NSW as a “human tragedy” and a “disaster”.
“We want to support the new South Wales as much as we can, but at the same time we want to stop the virus from entering Western Australia,” he said.
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