WA Premier Mark McGowan has ended months of speculation and frustration by revealing the (new) date that the state will finally lift its hard border.
He made the announcement on Friday afternoon after acknowledging the state’s high vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases in the eastern states.
The date has been set for Thursday, March 3.
He acknowledged on Friday there was no prospect of stopping an outbreak which now numbers 794 active cases.
“Eventually there comes a point where the border is ineffective when you get to high case numbers within the state,” he told reporters.
“It is plain to see that four weeks of caution has paid dividends. It means it is now far safer to relax our hard border settings.”
From 12.01am on Thursday, March 3, travellers will be allowed into WA, as long as they are fully vaccinated and undertake testing requirements. All arrivals will be given a rapid antigen test at Perth Airport and required to report a positive result to WA Health.
All international travellers will be allowed back in but those who are unvaccinated must serve two weeks in hotel quarantine.
The number of unvaccinated overseas arrivals will be limited to 70 per week.
Mr McGowan insisted there was no prospect he would again backflip on the reopening.
“This date is locked in and I can’t foresee a situation where it would change. It’s only 12 days away so it’s a lot closer than last time,” he said.
Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said modelling suggested the WA caseload would peak at the end of March at around 10,000 daily infections.
WA is expected to reach “peak immunity” in March, but four lives are expected to be lost each day once the peak is reached.
The announcement came as WA recorded 194 local cases and eight travel-related infections on Friday.
WA Health has reported 486 local cases in the past three days.
On Monday, February 21, a string of new restrictions will come into effect
- Masks will be compulsory in all indoor public venues.
- The 2sqm rule will return for all hospitality and entertainment venues, cultural venues, fitness centres, hairdressers, beauty service providers and places of worship.
- Nightclubs will also be capped at a maximum of 500 patrons, as well as the 2sqm rule.
- Home gatherings will be capped at a maximum of 30 people, with private outdoor events limited to 200.
- Aged care residents will be limited to a maximum of four visitors per day, although exemptions will be available for exceptional circumstances.
- At Crown, seated service will come into effect on the gaming floor.