Coronavirus crisis: WA Premier Mark McGowan announces phase five start pushed back from July 18 to August 1
Update: Mark McGowan says WA’s hard border with the rest of the nation will be up for “as long as it takes” amid news phase five of WA’s COVID-19 restrictions will be delayed until August 1.
He said WA was a sovereign state of 2.6 million people which powered the nation and would bring the border down when it was the right time.
“Today it would be fair to say WA is not giving in to requests for us to bring down the border,” he said.
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The Premier said border measures between WA and Victoria could be tightened even further yet and WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson flagged stopping all planes from Victoria from coming into WA as being on option to keep COVID-19 out of the state.
Mr Dawson said he had been advised half of the passengers on a flight from Melbourne to Perth, scheduled to land today, had gotten off after being advised by police they may not be able to enter WA following a crackdown overnight on travel exemptions for travellers.
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It comes amid news from the Premier that the start of WA’s next phase of restrictions had been pushed back two weeks.
The Premier said WA had decided to be extra cautious in delaying restriction relaxations because of the situation in Victoria.
“Given the number of people in hotel quarantine and with the situation in Victoria worsening there is an increased risk of the virus spreading,” he said.
“As a result our chief health officer has recommended a delay to the introduction of phase five.”
The next stage of restrictions had been mooted for July 18 but will be put off now for several weeks with a final decision to be made at a later date.
There have been 4955 people arrive in WA from interstate in the past 10 days, which was double the same period in previous weeks, according to Mr McGowan including 414 from Melbourne in the past two days.
About 1000 Victorians have come to WA in the past week.
Mr McGowan said there would also now be an official maximum of 525 international passengers per week into Perth from Sunday.
The risk of the virus returning with a vengeance is greater than ever before.
He added that all international arrivals into Perth would be required to pay for their 14 days of quarantine from July 17.
“This date will be built into our legislation which we will introduce when parliament resumes on August 11,” he said.
The Premier said legal advice outlined the State could announce the date for when the new billing regime came into place despite not passing the legislation yet.
“There will be some exemptions for extreme hardships,” Mr McGowan said.
There were three new cases of COVID-19 overnight for WA which were all recent international arrivals.
Two had travelled from Dubai and the third from the Congo.
There are currently 19 active cases of coronavirus in WA.
At this stage I believe it would not be appropriate to lift the current restrictions.
WA chief health officer Andrew Robertson said it was unlikely we had seen the peak of the Victorian outbreak.
“It is anticipated it may take two months or longer to get it fully under control,” he said.
“The impact of any further spread, including in other states and territories, will probably not be evident for a further two to three weeks.”
Dr Robertson said there was greater potential for local transmission in WA if COVID-19 was reintroduced into the community.
He said a similar sized outbreak to Victoria in WA would mean tougher restrictions could be needed in parts or all of the state.
“At this stage I believe it would not be appropriate to lift the current restrictions based on the current situation in the eastern states,” Dr Robertson.
There were 288 new COVID-19 cases in Victoria overnight taking the active cases to 1172.
Mr McGowan said he did not want to be reimposing restrictions but there was a “real possibility the virus could return to WA”.
“The risk of the virus returning with a vengeance is greater than ever before,” he said.
It won’t be a happy day for Fremantle and Eagles supporters but we’re just doing our best to manage a health problem.
The Premier said the fallout for ticketing at the upcoming western derby between the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers would need to be sorted out by the football clubs.
When asked what the difference was between a crowd of 60,000 and 30,000, Mr McGowan said it clearly reduced the risk for a major sporting event.
“It’s clearly a smaller risk than before, it allows for social distancing and better isolation between people and it reflects our current risk profile,” he said.
“It won’t be a happy day for Fremantle and Eagles supporters but we’re just doing our best to manage a health problem.
“For the crowd that is going there will be much greater public transport provision than would normally be provided for a crowd of this size.”
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