Travel from New South Wales into Western Australia will not be allowed unless travellers meet strict exemption criteria, to protect WA and reduce the risk of COVID-19 entering WA.
The latest decision will come into effect from midnight tonight (12.01am Sunday, December 20) and has been put in place based on the latest health advice, following the very concerning outbreak in New South Wales.
This afternoon an emergency meeting was held following WA’s Acting Chief Health Officer consulting further with NSW Health and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.
Since 12.01am Friday, December 18 NSW has been classified as a ‘low risk’ State under our controlled interstate border, meaning all arrivals are required to self-quarantine for 14 days in a suitable premise and be tested for COVID-19 on Day 11.
Based on the latest health advice, as of midnight tonight, NSW will be classified as ‘medium risk’, meaning travel from NSW will no longer be permitted, unless you are an exempt traveller.
This also applies to anyone who may have been in NSW since December 11 and hasn’t completed 14 days in a lower risk State or Territory. The exemption list is limited to:
- certain senior Government officials;
- certain active military personnel;
- a member of the Commonwealth Parliament;
- a person carrying out functions under a law of the Commonwealth;
- a person responsible for transport freight or logistics; and
- anyone who is given approval by State Emergency Coordinator or an authorised officer.
The final category includes compassionate reasons – including those Western Australians that may have travelled to New South Wales recently and need to return to WA. These people will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by WA Police and will be required to complete 14 days of self-quarantine and be tested for COVID-19 on arrival and on Day 11.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“I know these changes are going to be hard to take for many people.
“I know it will throw Christmas and reunion plans into disarray, if that hadn’t happened already.
“As the situation in NSW unfolded in the last few days – the emergency management team have met regularly to receive the latest briefings and discuss options going forward.
“Our response all the way along has been based on the latest health advice and our response has been reasonable given the extraordinary circumstances.
“Right now, I don’t know how long the hard border with NSW will be up for.
“We hope it’s only for a short period – and we can reassess our border controls when the health advice says it is safe to do so.
“All the way along, throughout this pandemic, our best defence has been our border controls.
“Right now, we cannot afford to take unnecessary risks that could see the virus return into our community here in Western Australia.”