Coronavirus WA: Premier Mark McGowan announces new plan to turn away COVID ships
The WA Government will impose new protocols and standards on international ships and “reserves the right” to turn away vessels suspected of being exposed to COVID-19.
Mark McGowan said there were six ships currently on their way to WA ports which had docked in COVID-ravaged Indonesia in recent weeks.
The Premier announced that ships wanting to enter WA having stopped at a higher risk jurisdiction — such as Indonesia — must have had no onshore crew visits.
Maritime workers boarding ships at higher risk locations must wear appropriate protective equipment and seafarers boarding from these ports will also need to return a negative test result.
Rapid testing of the entire crew from arrival at high risk locations will be required and evidence of negative result might be a precondition of entering WA waters.
All crew disembarking in WA from a high risk location must be required to be vaccinated, Mr McGowan said.
“This is all about setting a new standard for the shipping industry so we can all ensure that we keep WA safe, especially given the highly transmissible Delta variant,” he said.
“Our authorities have so far been successful in managing any outbreaks that have occurred in our territorial waters, but the risk posed by the Delta variant means we cannot rely on goodwill alone.”
Mr McGowan said the measures were in place with immediate effect and described them as a “final warning” for the shipping industry after a spate of COVID-infected ships berthed in WA in recent weeks.
Moments earlier, Scott Morrison announced new vaccination thresholds that the nation and individual States need to achieve to progress to the next stage of the nation’s COVID roadmap.
Under the roadmap, Australia would move to Phase B when the country — and each State and Territory — has fully vaccinated 70 per cent of the adult population.
Harsh State-imposed coronavirus restrictions such lockdowns and interstate border closures would be “less likely, but possible” under Phase B, the Prime Minister said.
Restrictions on vaccinated people would be “eased” in Phase B, with details still to be worked through. Caps on overseas arrivals would also be increased to previous levels.
Phase C would begin when the vaccination rate reaches 80 per cent. During this “consolidation phase”, there would be “baseline restrictions” to minimise cases, but only “highly targeted lockdowns”.
Mr McGowan said under Phase B, States would reserve the right to lockdown and put in place border controls. In Phase C, lockdowns would be limited to specific locations such as country towns.
He revealed people would be able to prove their vaccination status via their phone and authorities would incentives jabs by permitted immunised individuals to attend sports events and concerts.
“We do need a roadmap. We need to understand what the plan is, even though, as you know when you go into battle and firing off shots, plans often go out the window,” Mr McGowan said.
The marathon three-hour National Cabinet meeting comes after Mr McGowan accused the NSW Government of being “arrogant” for refusing to learn from other States, like WA, which have eradicated outbreaks of the Delta variant.
Mr McGowan, who has repeatedly criticised his NSW counterpart for her reluctance to impose harsh restrictions, said tough restrictions in certain council areas should be imposed on all of Greater Sydney to drive cases down to zero.
NSW reported 170 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Friday, of which at least 52 were in the community during part or all of their infectious period.
There are 58 patients in intensive care, with 24 ventilated.
While the number of daily infections was a significant dip on the prior 24-hour total of 239, Premier Gladys Berejiklian admitted case numbers were likely to keep “bouncing around”.
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