Australia

WA set for hard border closure to combat coronavirus spread

Premier of Western Australia Mark McGowan speaks to the media during a press conference in Perth. Source: AAP

A "hard" border closure is about to come into effect in Western Australia in an effort to tackle the spread of COVID-19.

Western Australia is hours away from an unprecedented temporary hard border closure in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

Under a border crackdown implemented on 24 March, people could enter WA provided they went into isolation for 14 days upon arrival, unless they performed exempted essential services. 

But from 11.59pm local time on Sunday, the only people who can enter the state must have an exemption. 

 

There will be exemptions for health workers, emergency services, freight workers, people providing specialist skills, judicial services and on compassionate grounds. 

Mr Mark McGowan told reporters on Sunday that despite causing "a great deal of frustration for many people", he is "100 per cent confident this is the right approach".

"It is exactly what we need to do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this virus," he said.

"In just a few days we have pulled together Western Australia's hard border closure. What we have done in less than a week took Britain four years to work through. Brexit has taken four years and we put borders in place in the space of one week." 

FIFO workers and their families will also be exempt but must adhere to a 14-day isolation period upon entering WA. 

Also, those who return after spending 14 days in hotel quarantine in other states will have to isolate for a further fortnight.  

The state is also strictly enforcing intrastate travel restrictions, especially to remote Aboriginal communities.

In the Kimberley region, where more than a dozen cases have been confirmed, including among health care workers, travel between the four local government areas is also forbidden.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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