After almost two years isolated from the rest of the country, Western Australia has canned its decision to lift the state’s hard border on February 5 as previously planned.
The border will remain closed indefinitely with no roadmap to reopening in place.
The decision was made to allow more residents to get their booster shots as Omicron spreads through other states.
Premier Mark McGowan made the announcement a month after setting Feb 5 as the date when, for the first time since March 24 2020, people from interstate would be able to enter without quarantining.
“From 12.01am on Saturday 5 February, the hard border will stay, with new settings that will have a focus on both safety and compassion,” McGowan said.
Not only will the hard border remain, but the restrictions on entrants will also increase.
Now only triple-vaxxed people will be allowed to enter and all entrants will need to self-isolate in a hotel for seven days and then at home for seven days, and take tests.
However more people will be excempt from the border rules. People will now be allowed to enter to attend funerals, court, or to visit people who are terminally ill, but they will still have to undergo 14 days in quarantine.
The initial roadmap was launched before Omicron, which McGowan said has changed everything.
“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,” he said.
“Allowing hundreds or thousands of Omicron-infected people to fly straight into Perth from 5 February with no testing, no quarantine and no public health measures would cause a flood of COVID across our state.
“It would cause a surge in cases, a surge in hospitalisations, and result in thousands of people not being able to work or go to school. We know that bad health outcomes lead to economic pain.”
There are currently 79 active cases in WA, all of which are in quarantine or self-isolation. No cases are currently in hospital.
Well, maybe see you there in 2023.