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Mark McGowan’s 7.30pm press conference


Mr McGowan denied suggestions the delayed border reopening was a sign the state government had failed to prepare the hospital system for COVID, after two years of planning.

A state disaster council meeting, held on Wednesday, concluded the reopening date would not go ahead, and instead the state’s extreme risk lock-out laws would be loosened from February 5.

Returning West Australians or those with close family contacts can return and quarantine. Those wanting to travel to WA must be triple vaccinated and return a negative rapid antigen test 24 hours prior to entry, and then quarantine.

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International travel will be permitted, but only under the arrivals cap and with 14 days of hotel and home quarantine.

The delay reopening announcement comes as the state government faced growing pressure to release its Omicron modelling and detail close contact and furloughing rules for essential workers, as well as any social distancing restrictions post-February 5.

Hospitality venues, hospitals, schools and workplaces had all been left in the dark about what to expect, with some such as the CrabFest and Perth Festival cancelling major events over the uncertainty, and others forcing their employees to work-from-home early.

Health staff also held concerns over the lack of rapid antigen tests the state government had procured, after being the last Australian jurisdiction to approve them in December, and with only around one million in stock.

To Thursday, 88 per cent of the WA population over 12 was double vaccinated, and 25.8 per cent over 16 had received their booster jab.

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Perth Airport had more than 45 flights scheduled for February 5, and was bracing for its busiest day since the pandemic began.

Earlier on Thursday in a press conference, Australian Nursing Federation state secretary Mark Olson said he would be surprised if Mr McGowan stuck to the February 5 opening date.

“That’s certainly not the Premier that I’ve been watching for the last two years,” he said.

WA Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said post-February 5, there would be shorter quarantine requirements for hospital staff. She also flagged elective surgery would be cancelled when the surge in Omicron cases does eventually arrive.



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