Premier Mark McGowan has not ruled out early changes to WA’s hard border with Queensland but says his Government will make “absolutely sure” there is no COVID-19 spread there before anything is done.
The border arrangements with Queensland were announced on Friday, with WA’s rules dictating that 28 days must pass with no community spread of coronavirus before travellers may be allowed back in.
Greater Brisbane’s lockdown will now be lifted at 6:00pm AEST after no new cases were reported for three days.
Mr McGowan said he was pleased with Queensland’s progress, with some restrictions in Brisbane to remain in place for a further 10 days.
“I wouldn’t expect we’d take any action before Queensland is sure they don’t have community spread of the virus,” he said.
“But at the end of that point in time [January 22], we’ll get further health advice.”
The Premier left the door open to the possibility of WA lifting the hard border before the 28 days of no community spread that it had continued to demand from other jurisdictions.
“It would depend upon health advice,” he said.
“The approach thus far that we adopted for South Australia, for Victoria, for New South Wales, for the entire country was 28 days-plus.
“Now, if the health advice indicates that because of the limited number [of cases] in Queensland we could do something sooner than that, well then obviously we would follow the health advice.”
Mr McGowan said WA’s “very cautious, very precautionary approach” would continue.
“This is the British strain which is highly contagious and obviously causing mass deaths across Britain, so we need to just be certain before we take any action,” he said.
“Before you open a border you want to be absolutely sure so you don’t have to close it down immediately.”
Meanwhile, Mr McGowan continued to stoke the flames of an ongoing feud with the New South Wales Government over its COVID-19 management.
He said NSW should be aiming to eliminate “the virus from Sydney” so the country “could rest a lot easier”.
“The idea that you tick along with the virus, and somehow that is a better model, is wrong,” he said.
“I just urge the New South Wales Government and people in New South Wales to look outside of New South Wales [to] what other states and territories are doing in order to crush and kill the virus.”