WA Premier Mark McGowan denies he’s being a grinch as South Australians face the prospect of spending Christmas in quarantine.
On Thursday, he confirmed that quarantine-free travel will recommence, but not until Christmas Day.
The confirmation is in line with the state’s ongoing health advice that it would only lift border restrictions with other states after 28 days of no community transmission. This means that, providing there are no further cases of community transmission, SA is set to reach that milestone come Christmas Eve.
Anybody from SA travelling to WA prior to that date would need to self-quarantine for 14 days, meaning if anybody wishing to head west from SA would now be stuck in quarantine for Christmas, and anybody who arrives in WA from SA on Christmas Eve would still be subject to the 14-day quarantine.
Mr McGowan denies he’s being unnecessarily harsh by refusing to bend the rules, saying he has plenty of sympathy for those affected.
“It’s been awful. It’s been terrible,” he told reporters.
“We haven’t done it lightly. And I couldn’t imagine this would be something I would do or even consider doing a year ago.
“We’re very sympathetic and very understanding that there will be people impacted by what we’re doing here.”
Earlier this week, Mr McGowan made headlines when he opted out of an in-person meeting with SA Premier Steven Marshall due to WA health advice.
Currently, anybody returning to WA is subject to self-quarantine if they have been in contact with a SA resident.
It kicked off a war of words between the leaders with Premier Steven Marshall pointing out that SA had no active cases “…unlike Western Australia”.
South Australia currently has no active cases of the virus.