WA announces date for reopening state borders, as another 39 COVID-19 deaths reported in Australia

It comes as some other states prepared to ease coronavirus rules from 6pm on Friday.

WA Premier Mark McGowan

WA Premier Mark McGowan Source: AAP

Western Australia will reopen its borders from 3 March, bringing to an end almost 700 days of seclusion as the state's Omicron outbreak continues to grow.

Mr McGowan says WA is well-placed to handle the resumption of quarantine-free travel given the state's high vaccination rates.

It comes as a further 39 deaths with COVID-19 were reported in Australia, the day which some restrictions were rolled back in NSW and Victoria.

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New South Wales reported 15 COVID-19-related deaths, while 14 people in Victoria have died after contracting the virus. 

Queensland, meanwhile, recorded nine fatalities and a man in his 50s passed away with the virus in the Northern Territory.



In announcing the opening date, WA Premier Mark McGowan acknowledged there was no prospect of stopping an outbreak which now numbers 794 active cases.

"Eventually there comes a point where the border is ineffective when you get to high case numbers within the state," he told reporters.

"It is plain to see that four weeks of caution has paid dividends. It means it is now far safer to relax our hard border settings."

Once the borders reopen, interstate travellers who are fully vaccinated - including a third dose if eligible - will be able to travel to WA without quarantining.

Unvaccinated interstate travellers will remain locked out.

 

In NSW, hospitalisations have fallen further to 1,381 and ICU admissions remain steady, with 92 people in intensive care.

The state recorded 9,243 new COVID-19 cases as a number of restrictions are rolled back earlier than expected across the state in time for the weekend.

Singing and dancing are back across most venues, the two-metre density limit for indoor venues has been scrapped, and QR check-ins are now only required for nightclubs and music festivals with more than 1,000 patrons.

The requirement to wear face masks will also cease in most settings next Friday.

Victoria has recorded 14 deaths, while hospitalisations with the virus have grown by 50 in a single day, with 451 patients in hospital.

Of those, 64 patients are in ICU, with 16 requiring ventilation.

The state recorded 6,935 new infections, which included 4,329 from rapid antigen tests and 2,606 from PCR tests, the health department said on Friday.

From 6pm on Friday, hospitality and entertainment venues density quotas will be scrapped, along with QR code check-in requirements for retail, schools and workplaces.

QR check-ins will still be required in pubs, bars, restaurants and entertainment premises to help ensure those attending are double-vaccinated.


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3 min read
Published 18 February 2022 at 10:10am
Source: AAP, SBS