- Effective 12.01am Saturday, December 18, NSW will transition to 'extreme risk'
- Travel will not be permitted from NSW into WA except in extraordinary circumstances
- Current approved travellers under the 'high risk' category should return immediately
- International arrivals cap to be halved due to capacity in hotel quarantine and need to maintain safeguards given heightened Omicron risk
Based on the latest health advice, New South Wales will be further elevated to the 'extreme' risk category from 12.01am Saturday, December 18, 2021.
With case numbers continuing to jump in New South Wales, and the situation unlikely to improve significantly in the short term, the Western Australian Chief Health Officer has advised the need to elevate conditions on New South Wales arrivals.
This means that under the 'extreme risk' category, travel from New South Wales to WA will not be permitted unless approved under the strictest of conditions.
Under this category, the exemptions for approved travellers have been further restricted to Commonwealth and State officials, Members of Parliament, Diplomats and specialist or extraordinary circumstances determined by the State Emergency Coordinator or the Chief Health Officer. These approved travellers are subject to the following conditions, unless otherwise advised:
- be double dose vaccinated against COVID-19, if eligible;
- have returned a negative COVID-19 PCR test in the past 72 hours before departing;
- undertake hotel quarantine at a State facility for 14 days at their expense; and
- get tested for COVID-19 on days one, five and 13.
Under WA's controlled interstate border, travel is permitted from 'very low risk' jurisdictions (Tasmania), and is also permitted from 'low risk' jurisdictions (Queensland and Northern Territory), with 14 days of self-quarantine and relevant COVID-19 testing.
The Australian Capital Territory and South Australia remain at the 'medium risk' setting, which means travel is only permitted for approved categories of travellers. Victoria remains at the 'extreme risk' category.
The State Government will also move to halve the international arrivals cap from December 23. WA is currently receiving 530 arrivals each week.
Halving the arrivals cap will ensure capacity in hotel quarantine and safeguard models are maintained given the heightened Omicron risk and addition of New South Wales approved travellers in hotel quarantine.
Two cases of Omicron have now been detected in two returned overseas travellers in WA hotel quarantine, who continue to be monitored.
WA's border arrangements are enacted under the Emergency Management Act and failure to follow these directions will be enforceable by law, with penalties ranging from $1,000 infringements to up to $50,000 fines for individuals.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"The situation in New South Wales is very concerning and the cases have rapidly risen in the past few days so we need to do everything we can to keep Western Australia safe, while we get WA's vaccination rate up to 90 per cent and remain free of COVID in the community.
"The vaccination rate continues to climb and we're seeing more people heed the health advice and get their third doses. I implore everyone to get vaccinated and ensure they get their third doses when eligible.
"Western Australians currently in New South Wales with an approved G2G Pass should come home immediately, because once the reclassification kicks in Saturday they will not be able to do so, except for the most extraordinary circumstances.
"As New South Wales has been at 'high risk' for some time now, many who would have wanted to return to WA for the end of the year would have arrived already to ensure they are undertaking their 14 days of self-quarantine under the 'high risk' rules.
"Anyone else approved to travel within the limited 'extreme risk' rules will be undertaking 14 days of hotel quarantine to better protect WA, and this is why it's important we keep capacity in our hotel quarantine system and why we are halving the international arrivals cap.
"This is not a situation to take lightly and it is necessary because my priority is the health of Western Australians first and foremost."
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"Our border controls work and can be adjusted to better protect WA and we need to use it while we keep COVID out of the community and get more people vaccinated ahead of our safe transition.
"We cannot be complacent and it's important everyone follows the health advice and takes every precaution we can to keep WA safe.
"This means keeping up good hygiene, using SafeWA to check-in, staying home if we're unwell and monitoring for symptoms and getting tested."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Health Minister's office - 6552 6500