At 7.30pm on Thursday 20 January Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan held a press conference to announce he would be deferring WA’s planned February 5 border reopening indefinitely. For some it was welcome news, for others quite the opposite, with plans to reunite with family members for the first time in two years thrown in to disarray.
We’re not here to pass judgement in either direction, but below you can learn what this means in the interim when it comes to interstate and international travellers coming to Perth.
The February 5 reopening is no more
WA’s “safe transition” plan has been updated based on latest health advice, in particular the uncertainty surrounding the impacts of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. According to the WA Government, “Further decisions on border controls will be reviewed over the course of the next month.” This is to give Western Australians a longer chance get vaccinated, and where applicable get their third dose, “to ensure the best protection possible against the Omicron variant.”
What are the new hard border settings?
According to the new border settings, approved travellers are permitted to enter WA, or leave WA and return, with testing and quarantine requirements under an 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 Coordinator 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.
Additional requirements are in place for domestic road travel to keep WA safe:
– Approved domestic travellers to limit travel to 1,500 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;
– 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.
What about current health measures in WA?
Everything we’ve been living with the past couple of weeks will 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.
The government is strongly everyone in WA aged five and older to get vaccinated, and get their third dose as soon as they’re eligible.
For more information about WA’s Updated Safe Transition Plan, visit https://wa.gov.au