Western Australia will remove its hard border for vaccinated travellers on February 5, Premier Mark McGowan announced in a press conference this afternoon.
The 2022 date is when the state is anticipated to reach the 90 per cent vaccination milestone for residents aged 12 and over. The announcement comes as WA reached the 80 per cent mark on Monday.
“We followed a different model to the others, and it’s worked,” McGowan said. “Western Australia’s current zero-covid environment and high vaccination rate will help deliver the softest landing to minimise the impact of the virus.”
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Last month, the government announced WA would ease its controlled border when 90 per cent of 12s and over are fully vaccinated.
“The decision to target a 90 per cent vaccination rate is based on extensive modelling which shows us [that] the rates of community infections, hospitalisations and deaths are far lower if we make this change at 90 per cent, when compared with an 80 per cent target,” McGowan said at the time.
From 12.01am Saturday February 5, there will be minimal restrictions in place: face masks will be required only in high-risk indoor settings such as public transport, hospitals and aged-care facilities. And proof of vaccination will be required to attend nightclubs, the casino, and large events with crowds of more than 1000 people such as football games and concerts.
McGowan flagged there could still be travel restrictions for certain remote communities such as the Pilbara, Goldfields and the Kimberley due to lower vaccination rates. “These are the only regions that currently have a first dose rate below 80 per cent,” McGowan said. The Pilbara is of most concern, with a double vaxxed rate of just 46.1 per cent.
Interstate arrivals will be required to be fully vaccinated, return a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure, and undertake another test within 48 hours of arrival in WA. (If a traveller’s stay in WA is for five days or less, they will only be required to return a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of departure, and won’t need to get another test within 48 hours of landing.)
International travel will resume with some conditions: fully vaccinated arrivals will need to return a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departing for WA and undertake another test within 48 hours of arrival, as well as a third test on day six. Those who are not fully vaccinated will be required to complete 14 days’ quarantine in a hotel or designated facility and complete a G2G Pass.
More to come.