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Western Australian Premier reveals COVID-19 roadmap to border reopening

Western Australian Premier reveals COVID-19 roadmap to border reopening
November 12, 2021

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has set the lofty goal of 90% immunisation in people aged 12 and older before he will reopen the state’s border to the rest of the country.

For the past 18 months, the Government of Western Australia has successfully relied on the geography of the state to protect the state from COVID-19.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been only 1,112 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Western Australian, with nine deaths.

However, after weeks of rising pressure and an evident shift in community attitude as returning Australians begin to touch down in Sydney, Premier McGowan has shared his long-awaited transition plan and accompanying health modelling.

Premier McGowan said the aim is to open the border when 90% of the state’s population aged 12 and above are properly vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the WA Health modelling, if border restrictions were relaxed with 80% of the state’s population already vaccinated, the annual number of cases would double.

At the current rate of immunisation, the 90% vaccination goal might be attained by the end of January or February.

But after great expectation, it came as a bit of a disappointment for people attempting to organise their lives and livelihoods around the reopening.

Travel agent Christian Hunter said it was nice to have a strategy to aim towards, but it lacked a critical aspect, advising “it is a bit of a shock to our sector that we don’t have certainty around a timetable.

“To plan our rehabilitation, we need a date to work to, and we simply don’t have that at the time, so it is a little bit upsetting.”

Premier McGowan said the reopening date would be announced next month once 80% target is reached.

Advising that once that date is announced it will be fixed, Premier McGowan also issued a warning that if Western Australia does not attain that target by the stated date, extra public health and social measures would need to be implemented.

Premier McGowan stated “limits on venues, restrictions on workplaces, restrictions when it comes to masks - all those types of things that we’re urgently trying to avoid.”

Perth’s fifth Ashes Test hosting
Despite uncertainty over the reopening of venues to crowds, the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) remains confident of hosting the fifth Ashes test in mid-January.

Media reports suggest that players arriving from the Sydney Test will have their quarantine reduced from two weeks to four or five days.

The current tour schedule has only a four-day gap between the SCG and Perth matches, meaning the Test could either need to be pushed back one day to 15th January or be started under quarantine protocols.

Any agreement on conditions would also need the sign-off from both Australia and England's playing group.

Commenting on the hosting, WACA Chief Executive, Christina Matthews advised “there is talk around somewhere between the four and the seven days (quarantine), so that is an issue that is being dealt with.

"We remain very positive.

"We know that things are moving in the right direction. What we don't know is when the final details will be put to bed.

Matthews' comments come after Premier McGowan last week declared he was "very confident" a plan could be made to allow the series finale to be played in Perth.

Uncertainty over the hosting has this week seen Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein make a bid to host the game.

Joe Cusmano with Nigel Benton.

Image: Cricket at Perth's Optus Stadium.

About the author

Joe Cusmano

An experinced airline and travel industry professional, Joe has over 25 years international airline sales experience of which 18 have been in senior positions in Australia, North Africa and Europe, Middle East and Thailand.

Committed to sharing news and personal experiences, he explains that, post-COVID, "once I resume travelling with people that like me are nomads by nature and love to travel, (I will) provide you with as much advice and tips to make your travel experience a memorable one."

Click here to visit his website.

Read more from this author

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