Coronavirus crisis: WA tightens border measures for Victorian travellers

Peter de KruijffThe West Australian
VideoJetstar boss responds to Sydney Airport bungle.

Anyone who has travelled in Victoria in the past 14 days is not welcome in WA, the Health Minister has decreed.

Roger Cook said there would be some exemptions but border measures would be even tighter from midnight with for anyone travelling from Victoria.

“If you’re a traveller from Victoria in the last 14 days you are not welcome,” he said.

Several hundred Victorians have arrived in WA in the past fortnight according to WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson while a further 90 arrived today.

Under the changes only specific essential workers and persons approved by the State Emergency Coordinator will be allowed into WA from any other state.

Those who arrive from Victoria will be given a notice on arrival which compels them to take a COVID-19 test 11 days after entering WA or as soon as they develop symptoms.

Police will be able to enforce the test requirement with fines of $5000 for those who do not comply.

Mr Dawson said the transport, freight and logistics sectors would not be impacted by the exemption changes.

“Workers in the agricultural sector, whether they be in mining, oil, gas —whatever reason they are coming into WA — we’ve spoken to the industry and employment groups and warned them to keep our critical infrastructure going you’re going to have to source labour from places other than Victoria until that gets under control,” he said.

“So that means people arriving from Victoria or those that have travelled through Victoria in the preceding 14 days are under a much stricter regime.

“People are going to be rejected if they arrive here without exemption and they’ll have to return from whence they came.”

Mr Cook said Mr Dawson would be making decisions on who was allowed to enter with advice from the chief health officer of WA.

Western Australia Health Minister Roger Cook.
Camera IconWestern Australia Health Minister Roger Cook. Credit: RICHARD WAINWRIGHT/AAPIMAGE

Mr Dawson said industry and employment groups had been told to source their labour from places other than Victoria until the state’s COVID-19 situation was under control.

“People arriving from Victoria or who have travelled from Victoria ... are under a much stricter regime even though 98 per cent of all arrivals (from the east) into WA have already stopped,” he said.

We have become an extremely safe haven.

“Persons who have been allowed into WA including from Victoria have been very tight for quite some months, from midnight tonight it will be much tighter.

“We’ve had people in the agricultural and primary producer area who have been able to go and pick fruit for instance, that is going to be much tighter … so we will be putting a much stricter regime so anyone coming from Victoria will either have to return or won’t be able to go about their business.

“It’s complex, we’re being much stricter with those who have travelled from Victoria for obvious reasons.”

Passengers from a Qantas flight from Melbourne collect their luggage today.
Camera IconPassengers from a Qantas flight from Melbourne collect their luggage today. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Mr Dawson said anyone who tried to come into WA without a valid exemption from Victoria would be sent back home.

Mr Cook said hotel quarantine numbers were growing in WA going from 805 last Thursday to 1507 today, with expectations of cracking 2000 this weekend.

“We have become an extremely safe haven, we have become an extremely desirable safe haven,” he said.

“We need to strengthen our measures even more. Due to our success of having no community transmission.”

The minister said a new advertising campaign would also be launched to bring home the message that the threat of COVID-19 was not over and now is not the time for complacency.

There were three new cases of COVID-19 in WA overnight, with 16 active cases in total, but all involved people in hotel quarantine who had come back to Australia from overseas.

Victoria has reached 932 active cases after recording 165 new cases overnight.

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