Coronavirus crisis: WA sets up hard border with SA amid outbreak fears

Charlotte EltonThe West Australian
Premier Mark McGowan.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan. Credit: Tony McDonough Newswire

Western Australia will implement a hard border with South Australia from midday today.

The State — which reported six cases of COVID-19 yesterday morning — will be transitioned to “medium risk”, joining NSW and Victoria in this category.

Under the tough new restrictions, travellers will have to secure an exemption before coming to WA, and will have to quarantine for 14 days once they arrive.

They must also be tested within 48 hours of arrival and on day 12.

Premier Mark McGowan conceded the decision was “very hard” for many people, but insisted it was the only option.

“The whole country, bar here and Tasmania and the Northern Territory, has cases in the community,” he said.

“It’s a very worrying time, a very worrying time.

“We have got to do everything we can to keep it (the virus) out.”

Mr McGowan said the restrictions would remain in place for as long as necessary.

“South Australia has community spread of the virus now. Hopefully they manage to crush and kill it,” he said.

“But until they do. We’ll just have to have these strong measures in place.”

The number of cases in the South Australian outbreak has ballooned to 12.

The infections — which include a child under five — are linked to two separate clusters of the Delta strain.

The Premier said one flight was scheduled to arrive in WA from South Australia at 5.10pm this afternoon, with 87 people onboard.

This number will likely drop “significantly”’ as people change their travel plans, Mr McGowan said.

The 87 people onboard the flight arriving today will be treated compassionately, Health Minister Roger Cook said.

He defended the border decision, however, warning that the virus could spread “like a bushfire”.

“The Delta variant changes how we respond to this disease and means we have to be much faster with our actions,” he said.

The situation on the east coast continues to deteriorate, with NSW reporting 124 cases this morning.

Forty-eight of those were active in the community during their infectious period.

The Premier called on NSW to “hold the course” to crush the virus.

“They’ve got to ignore some of the shock jocks in NSW, some of the right-wing nut jobs who are saying ‘let it rip’,” he said.

WA now has a hard border in place with South Australia, NSW, Queensland and Victoria as each of those State’s grapple with outbreaks of the virus.

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