WA is about to implement strict new measures on cross-border travel. (ABC Kununurra: Sam Tomlin)
West Australians are facing a number of new measures that will soon be put into place in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus in the state.
As each state and territory continues to announce their own changes, let’s take a look at what the measures announced so far mean for those in the West.
WA border to close
As of 1:30pm on Tuesday anyone arriving in WA will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
While WA Premier Mark McGowan did not go as far as using the term “close”, the measures are basically exactly that.
“These strict new border controls will apply to all access points — roads, rail, air and sea,” Mr McGowan said.
“Unless exempted, arrivals from interstate will be ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.
“Exemptions will apply for essential services and essential workers.”
South Australia and the Northern Territory have also announced their borders will close.
From WA and needing to return home?
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said details for people returning to WA, as well as other information regarding the new border measures, would be published shortly.
“But in essence, if you’re travelling by road you will need to be arriving over our border by 1:30pm on Tuesday,” Mr Dawson said.
Commissioner Dawson urged people to be calm, and not speed to try and beat the border closure. (ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)
“If you are not able to make it before then — and we want people to travel very safely and very calmly — then you either do not leave, you stay where you are.
“Or if you are intending to come over we will be putting in measures which may require you to stay for 14 days at that location.
“There will only be exceptions for essential travel.”
When asked if non-West Australians might be turned away from the border, Mr Dawson said not at this stage.
But how will we keep the stores stocked?
Mr McGowan said the State Government would continue to work closely with the mining and trucking industry.
“We need to continue to ensure that we can have a supply of gas, a supply of essential services — medicine, goods and the like — into Western Australia, and that’s the work we’ve been doing over recent days,” he said.
Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak
The Commissioner issued a plea that people not panic buy or speed to beat the border shutdown, sharing the oft-repeated message to keep calm.
“I don’t want you panicking and speeding, I don’t want you doing anything other than keeping calm,” he said.
Planning a holiday in WA? Don’t!
“Please cancel your holiday, cancel your holiday,” Mr McGowan urged.
WA Premier Mark McGowan says the state is now facing a “type of war we have never seen before”. (ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)
“Otherwise you’re going to be required to self-isolate in Western Australia.“
Beaches remain open but that might not last.
Bondi beach was recently closed after people began ignoring social distance rules.
“I haven’t seen images the same as Bondi in Western Australia, but I just warn everyone that if you flout the rules that’s the sort of thing we’re going to have to do,” the Premier said.
“So if people are flouting the rules on those sorts of beaches like Cottesloe, we’ll have to close it.”
The WA Premier has warned he will close popular beaches like Cottesloe if needed. (ABC News: Hugh Sando)
What about your upcoming trip down south?
There are no restrictions on that at this stage but the Premier flagged that could change.
The WA Government recently suspended its “Do it in WA” tourism campaign aimed at encouraging intra-state travel. (Supplied: Tourism WA)
But if it’s up north, there are some rules that apply. People are asked not to visit remote Aboriginal communities.
“Whether it’s the Kimberley or the Goldfields, we’re looking at what rules can be put in place there to protect those areas, the immunity of Aboriginal people is not as good as the non-Aboriginal population,” Mr McGowan said.
“We’ve already put in place pretty strict rules around people going into and coming out of remote communities, but whether or not we need to do anything further is work being done now.”
Rottnest Island could house the sick
“We’re looking at acquiring, very soon, some hotels for self-isolation zones, so that we can have places to quarantine people who have difficulty self-isolating or who won’t self-isolate,” Mr McGowan said.
Rottnest, known for its quokkas, may be used as a quarantine island for people who do not comply with social isolation rules. (ABC Open contributor glanzpunkt)
“We’re now actively investigating using Rottnest Island for this purpose, taking Rottnest Island and turning it into a quarantine zone for Western Australia.
“To ensure that those people who can’t quarantine, or won’t quarantine, we can put them somewhere where they can get proper attention and proper support.
“These are extreme steps, but these are extreme days and we need to all step up and play our part in one of the greatest crises facing our state in its history.”
Schools remain open — for now
So, at this stage schools in WA remain open.
However, as Mr McGowan kept repeating, more changes could be announced after a national cabinet meeting this afternoon.
“Whatever happens with schools we have to make sure that essential services workers can continue to work,” he said.
“And we have to protect grandparents and the elderly, and I think we all need to acknowledge that those things we have to do as Australians.”
Total shutdown in WA? Not yet.
With other states announcing they will go into lockdown, except for essential services, within 48 hours, is WA looking at the same?
At the moment West Australians can go to their local cafe or restaurant so long as they and the business adhere to the already imposed strict social distancing measures.
Ginos cafe in Fremantle is enforcing social distancing with chairs stacked on tables. (ABC News: David Weber)
Both the Premier and the police commissioner had strong words for those who flouted the rules, and again flagged the potential for future measures.
“Well different states are at different positions,” Mr McGowan said.
“These are extreme measures we’re talking about here, but we want to do our best to protect all West Australians.
“Any decisions we make are based on medical advice, medical advice, the best of medical advice.
“So, we will listen to that this afternoon and make decisions accordingly.”
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