Full border opening delayed as part of updated transition plan

Updated January 21 2022 - 1:45am, first published January 20 2022 - 11:56am
WA Premier Mark McGowan has announced changes to the hard border arrangements in Perth this evening.

Based on the latest health advice, Western Australia's Safe Transition Plan has been updated with new hard border settings from Saturday, February 5 to respond to serious concerns around the impacts of the Omicron variant.

The updated plan means the full border opening will be delayed given the full impacts of Omicron in Australia are still unknown, with the peak of infections not yet reached in jurisdictions with widespread transmission.

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Under the new border settings, approved travellers are permitted to enter WA, or leave WA and return, with testing and quarantine requirements under the new expanded exemption criteria:

  • Returning Western Australians, with strong recent connections or direct legitimate family connections with WA;
  • Compassionate grounds including funeral, palliative care or terminally ill visitation;
  • Member of the family of an approved traveller;
  • People entering for urgent and essential medical treatment;
  • Reasons of national and State security;
  • Commonwealth and State officials, Members of Parliament, Diplomats;
  • Provision of specialist skills not available in WA, health services, emergency service workers;
  • People required to attend court matters, judicial officers and staff of court, tribunals and commissions; and
  • Special considerations and extraordinary circumstances determined by the State Emergency Co-ordinator or Chief Health Officer.

Approved interstate travellers into WA will be permitted with the following requirements:

  • Traveller must have an approved G2G Pass, under new exemption criteria;
  • Be triple dose vaccinated if eligible (double dose vaccinated if not eligible for third);
  • Return a negative pre-departure Rapid Antigen Test (24 hours prior to departure);
  • Undertake 14 days of self-quarantine at a suitable premises, with the same requirements for household members at the self-quarantine premises;
  • PCR testing within 48 hours of arrival and on day 12 of self-quarantine, and household members will also be required to do a PCR test on the traveller's day 12.
  • Subject to mandatory use of G2G Now and in-person checks by WA Police as required.

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Additional requirements are in place for domestic road travel to keep WA safe:

  • Approved domestic travellers to limit travel to 1500 kilometres from road borders, to enable people to travel by road to suitable premises for quarantine in Perth from Eucla;
  • Entry at the Kununurra border only for transport, freight and logistics and border community residents;
  • Restricted travel into remote Aboriginal communities.

International travel into WA will be permitted with the following requirements:

  • Meet the Commonwealth requirements to enter Australia under the arrivals cap;

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  • Undertake 14 days of mandatory quarantine including, seven days in hotel quarantine and seven days of self-quarantine at a suitable premise, if eligible;
  • PCR testing on days one, six, nine and 12, and household members will also be required to do a PCR test on the traveller's day 12
  • Subject to mandatory use of G2G Now and in-person checks by WA Police as required;
  • International travel indirectly into WA via another State or Territory will be subject to the same entry and quarantine requirements as domestic travellers.

Current entry arrangements remain unchanged for transport, freight and logistics, maritime, aircraft crew, rig/platform and specific industries approved by the State Emergency Co-ordinator and Chief Health Officer.

Further review of border controls will be considered over the course of the next month.

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Current health and social measures remain in place, including masks to be worn as required, proof of vaccination for certain venues and businesses and contact registration including check ins using SafeWA or ServiceWA.

Everyone in WA aged five and older should get vaccinated including their third dose as soon as they are eligible.

"Unfortunately, the world changed in December when Omicron arrived," said WA Premier Mark McGowan at the special press conference in Perth on Thursday evening.

"It would be irresponsible and reckless for the State government to ignore the facts and ignore the reality of the situation playing out on the east coast.

"Allowing a wave of Omicron cases to fly straight into Perth from February 5, with no testing, no quarantine and no public health measures would cause a flood of the disease across our State.

"WA's new Safe Transition Plan will begin to be implemented on February 5, however, the full border opening has been delayed.

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"Under the interim border settings, approved travellers will be permitted to enter WA with testing and quarantine under the new expanded exemption criteria.

"The expanded criteria includes allowances for returning Western Australians, compassionate grounds, family members, and those entering for urgent or essential medical treatment.

"A decision on further easing of the new hard border controls will be made in the near future - once the east coast has reached the peak of infection, and we have a better understanding of the true impact of Omicron."

Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said getting vaccinated, including getting your third dose when you are due, is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.

"These updated measures will hopefully give more Western Australians the opportunity to get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before the virus has a chance to take hold in our community," Ms Sanderson said.

"A third dose offers far greater protection against the Omicron variant and I'd urge all Western Australians to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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"Omicron has changed the pandemic landscape and the updated Safe Transition Plan is a necessary pivot in the face of this new threat.

"Importantly, these changes will make it easier for families who have been separated by the pandemic to reunite and for those needing to return to WA on compassionate grounds."

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