Coronavirus crisis: WA eases restrictions on Queensland, NSW arrivals but two weeks of quarantine remains

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Peter LawThe West Australian
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WA’s border with Queensland and NSW will be relaxed from Monday, but arrivals from both States will still need to self-quarantine for two weeks.
Camera IconWA’s border with Queensland and NSW will be relaxed from Monday, but arrivals from both States will still need to self-quarantine for two weeks. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

WA’s border with Queensland and NSW will be relaxed from Monday, but arrivals from both States will still need to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Queensland has recorded 15 days of no community cases since a hotel quarantine cleaner contracted the UK strain of COVID-19, while NSW has reached seven days.

From 12.01am on Monday, January 25, Queensland and NSW will become “low risk” jurisdictions, meaning travellers no longer require a police exemption to enter WA.

However, arrivals must undergo a health screening and temperature test on arrival, isolate for 14 days and get tested on day 11.

WA’s Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson has advised that “given the unique situation” in Queensland, the Sunshine State could transition to “very low risk” from February 1.

A State Government media release said this transition would be confirmed closer to the date, subjected to updated health advice.

Arrivals must undergo a health screening and temperature test on arrival, isolate for 14 days and get tested on day 11.
Camera IconArrivals must undergo a health screening and temperature test on arrival, isolate for 14 days and get tested on day 11. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The Sunday Times

WA usually requires States to go 28 days with zero community cases before it allows quarantine-free travel.

South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and NT are currently the jurisdictions considered very low risk by WA.

“The outbreak in NSW last month was extremely concerning and prompted immediate action right across the country,” Premier Mark McGowan said in a statement on Friday.

“Queensland’s situation, which followed shortly after, was compounded with the detection of the variant strain and again resulted in swift action by us, by the Queensland Government itself and from other States and Territories in a bid to protect the country.

“WA’s careful and cautious approach has stood us in good stead and our controlled border arrangements have kept us safe allowing for swift action to stop the virus in its tracks.”

MARK MCGOWAN CORONAVIRUS PRESSER
Camera IconMARK MCGOWAN CORONAVIRUS PRESSER Credit: TheWest

It was agreed at National Cabinet that WA’s cap on international levels would return to 1025 people per week from February 15.

The Health Department, which reported two new cases in hotel quarantine, said wastewater testing had returned no “unexpected detections” of the virus in Perth.

Testing at six of Perth’s wastewater treatment plants — Subiaco, Woodman Point, Alkimos, Beenyup, Gordon Road and Point Person — started in November.

The Subiaco plant is the only one to have detected traces of coronavirus, but these were expected because that facility processes sewage from from the quarantine hotels.

“The results are what we expected to see. The only positive detections have been related to the cases of COVID-19 in hotel quarantine,” Health Minister Roger Cook said.

“The wastewater testing program is providing an additional layer of surveillance for COVID-19 in WA.

“But it does not replace the crucial need for testing people with symptoms of COVID-19 which is the cornerstone of any COVID-19 strategy.”

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