Western Australia’s premier is set to finally reveal when the state’s borders will open, ending months of speculation and frustration for locked-out families.
Mark McGowan is expected on Monday to announce a firm date for the reopening, which is likely to come in late-January or early-February.
WA’s double-dose vaccination rate for residents 12 and over is expected to have reached 80 per cent over the weekend, triggering the announcement.
The state’s borders are currently closed or heavily restricted to every other state or territory except Tasmania.
It’s anticipated the vaccination rate will have climbed to 90 per cent by the time the borders finally reopen.
Transitional restrictions will then come into effect, including a requirement to wear face masks in high-risk indoor settings such as public transport, hospitals and aged care facilities.
Proof of vaccination will be required to attend large events with crowds of more than 1000 people as well nightclubs and the casino. Entry to remote Indigenous communities will remain restricted and contact registers will still be used.
Should WA fail to reach its 90 per cent target before the borders reopen, further restrictions will be introduced which could include having to be vaccinated to go to pubs and restaurants.
Mr McGowan has not ruled out restricting travel between regions should vaccination rates be insufficient outside the metropolitan area.
State and federal leaders were briefed by the chief health officer about the Omicron variant at Friday’s national cabinet meeting and told that while the new variant was more transmissible, it was likely to be less severe.
“Everyone should feel confident – that with a very high vaccination rate, sensible public health measures, and a community that’s always done the right thing, Western Australia will be ready to safely transition its border controls,” Mr McGowan said.