Western Australia Brings Back Covid-19 Hard Border For New South Wales
PERTH, Australia — Western Australia has slammed its border shut to New South Wales after the number of coronavirus infections linked to a Sydney outbreak grew to 31.
The reintroduction of the hard border came into immediate effect on June 23, reclassifying New South Wales as a “medium-risk” jurisdiction following advice from Western Australia’s Chief Health Officer, Andrew Robertson.
Travel from anywhere in New South Wales is no longer permitted except for exempt travelers including senior government officials, active military personnel, federal politicians, and freight workers.
Exemptions may also be granted on compassionate grounds including for West Australians who need to return home.
Those travelers must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and present for two coronavirus tests during that period.
The edict applies to anyone who has been in New South Wales since 12:01 a.m. on June 11, including those who have since traveled through other jurisdictions including the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
“Naturally these immediate changes will cause inconvenience but the hard border is necessary to protect the health of Western Australians,” Premier Mark McGowan said.
“I want to thank everyone for their understanding.”
People who arrived from New South Wales prior to the hard border should continue to comply with existing directions, including 14 days’ quarantine for anyone who has visited exposure sites.
New South Wales recorded 13 new cases on June 23, eight of whom attended a weekend birthday party that has been labeled a “super-spreader event”.
The so-called Bondi cluster now stands at 31 after an unvaccinated Sydney airport limousine driver last week tested positive to the highly infectious Delta variant, which quickly started spreading at a busy shopping center.
Residents who live or work in seven local government areas cannot travel outside the metropolitan area unless it’s absolutely essential.
Queensland, Victoria, and New Zealand have also imposed bans on travel from much of Sydney.
McGowan has indicated Western Australia’s quarantine restrictions for Victorians are likely to soon be eased given that the state’s outbreak has largely been contained.
As the state’s hard border returns, Roger Cook, state’s Health Minister, said it serves as a reminder that the disease still poses a threat to the community.
Despite recent controversy about police using the health data for criminal investigations, Cook encouraged people to continue using the SafeWA app.
As per the Health Department of the Government of Western Australia, the number of confirmed cases so far has been 1,020; recovered are 1,009; deaths have been 9, and total tests conducted so far have been 1,270,194.
A hard border was imposed between Western Australia and New South Wales on December 19 last year, due to an outbreak in Sydney, disrupting thousands of people’s Christmas travel plans.
The ban was not lifted until January 22.
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Nikita Nikhil. Map by Urvashi Makwana)