‘Evolving situation’: WA slams border shut

Western Australia has brought back restrictions against South Australia after the latter was hit by a Covid outbreak less than two weeks after it reopened borders.

South Australia yesterday recorded 18 new cases of coronavirus – 16 of which were linked to a high school reunion in Adelaide.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan said the “evolving situation” in South Australia meant action had to be taken by the state’s chief health officer.

“Based on the latest health advice, South Australia will transition to ‘medium risk’ at midnight tonight (12:01am Friday 3 December),” Mr McGowan said in a statement.

“This will return WA to hard border arrangements with South Australia.

“Travel from South Australia will no longer be permitted, unless you are an approved traveller.”

Before the announcement, South Australia was “low risk” meaning fully vaccinated travellers were free to enter WA, provided they quarantined at home for two weeks.

Under the medium risk classification, approved South Australian travellers must provide proof of a negative Covid PCR test within 72 hours of their flight, must be double dosed against Covid, self-quarantine at home for 14 days, be tested for Covid within 48 hours of their arrival to Western Australia and must also be tested on their 12th day in WA.

Premier Mark McGowan has brought back border rules against SA. Picture: Colin Murty/The Australian

The exemption list for South Australians has also narrowed with only a handful of government officials, military personnel, members of parliament and people given approval by the state emergency co-ordinator given approval.

South Australians hoping to get into Western Australia on compassionate grounds must apply for an exemption through the state’s G2g system.

Western Australia has been quick to bring back border restrictions against states that record spikes in coronavirus cases.

Before announcing the “medium risk” classification last night, Mr McGowan hinted South Australia was about to be locked out.

“We’re currently reviewing the border arrangements with South Australia, we’re awaiting urgent health advice but it may well be that we lift the border with South Australia,” he told reporters.

“And by lift I mean toughen the border with South Australia very quickly. Obviously what’s occurred there is quite concerning.

“What we’ve done differently to South Australia is we’ve waited to higher levels of vaccination before such time as we lift our border arrangements.”

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall spoke about the inevitability of Delta yesterday. Picture: Simon Cross

Mr McGowan has repeatedly said the state will not reopen to all Australians until it hits 90 per cent double dose vaccination, a milestone estimated to be hit early next year. Around 87 per cent of West Australians have had one dose of vaccine while 77 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The premier hit out at South Australia yesterday, saying they had “adopted a different approach”.

“They’ve adopted a less cautious approach, we’re far more cautious and I think the evidence is that caution works,” Mr McGowan said.

“Being cautious is the right thing to do.”

Despite the jab, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said yesterday no state will be able to stay Covid-zero forever.

“The reality is you can’t keep Delta out indefinitely,” Mr Marshall said.

“The cases were inevitable, and now we are responding.”

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