Coronavirus crisis: WA arrivals from Queensland free to skip quarantine from Friday

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Peter LawThe West Australian
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VideoQueensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Sunrise she wouldn’t rule out regionalised lockdowns in the event of a severe outbreak and has urged Queenslanders to get vaccinated before borders reopen

Travellers from Queensland to WA will not be required to quarantine from Friday, Mark McGowan has announced.

Queensland joins Tasmania, South Australia and Northern Territory as jurisdictions classified as “very low risk”.

Previously, Queensland was categorised as “low risk” and arrivals from the Sunshine State had to self-quarantine for 14 days.

People in “extreme risk” NSW and Victoria continue to be banned, while arrivals from “medium risk” ACT must quarantine at home for 14 days.

The relaxation of WA’s border comes a day after Queensland unveiled its roadmap for reopening its borders at 70 and 80 per cent vaccination.

Health Minister Roger Cook announced all State-run vaccination clinics would be open to walk-ins and bookings were no longer needed.

Mr Cook and Mr McGowan rejected the concerns of Lieutenant General John Frewen, who is heading the nation’s vaccine taskforce, that WA won’t achieve the 80 per cent double dose vaccination threshold by Christmas.

The Premier said WA was on track to achieve that milestone — for those eligible aged 12 and over — sometime in December.

Mr Cook and Mr McGowan rejected concerns WA won’t achieve the 80 per cent double dose vaccination threshold by Christmas.
Camera IconMr Cook and Mr McGowan rejected concerns WA won’t achieve the 80 per cent double dose vaccination threshold by Christmas. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

He categorically ruled out allowing fully vaccinated travellers from NSW and Victoria to quarantine at home for 14 days ahead of Christmas.

“We're not going to do that. When you are vaccinated you can still spread the virus,” Mr McGowan said.

“If there is health advice that reduces the risk levels of NSW well then obviously we would put that in place but at this point of time it is extreme risk.”

He pointed to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions in NSW and Victoria for keeping WA’s hard border in place for the rest of the year.

“People in Melbourne aren't actually allowed to go to the country in Victoria, you've got to work from home if you possibly can and you're required to wear masks everywhere,” the Premier said.

“I mean, look at us, our society and our community is very different. I don't want to go down that route certainly before Christmas — put in place all sorts of measures to restrict people's activity, fun, excitement, completely devastate the tourism industry over that point in time, potentially have people get sick.

“We'll just wait until we get very high levels of vaccination before such time as we allow travel from New South Wales and Victoria.”

VideoQueensland’s tourism industry has welcomed the state government’s plan to open borders for Christmas

He said his Government was acting on health advice and he didn’t want WA to “fall at the last hurdle”.

“During the course of next year we'll have high levels of vaccination, we'll be able to reopen safely, our borders, and we'll be able to manage our soft landing I am very hopeful,” Mr McGowan continued.

“That's what I want to achieve. I don't want to have gone through this two years of extreme pressure on the people of the State - threats at every turn - to call at the last hurdle.

“We will continue just to be safe and keep the State as secure as we can whilst we'll get our vaccination rates up over the course of coming months.”

Mr Cook revealed Federal authorities had told WA pharmacies there would be a delay to the next shipment of the Moderna vaccine.

Moderna doses due to arrive on Wednesday had been delayed to Friday.

“This is a very disappointing and concerning development, particularly in the context of the comments by General Frewen in relation to WA vaccine rates,” he said.

“We can't get our people vaccinated if (the Commonwealth) do not have their supply chains properly honed and prepared to provide us with the vaccines that we need.

“Clearly, as a result of this delay, hundreds of appointments will be either postponed or cancelled in our pharmacies which is of great concern and very disappointing.”

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