• The WA government isexpected to place heavy restrictions on travel to the Kimberley region in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (BOM)Source: BOM
WA Health Minister says the government doesn’t want anyone going to the Kimberley as travel restrictions to the region to be announced in coming days.
Rangi Hirini

24 Mar 2020 - 4:10 PM  UPDATED 24 Mar 2020 - 4:10 PM

Several local councils in the Kimberley region have called on the West Australian government to enforce a travel ban to the region to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Shire of Broome, Shire of Derby West Kimberley, Shire of Halls Creek and Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley said more needs to be done to protect the Kimberley region.

“While the State Government’s recent decisions in relation to curtailing inter-state travel are a great start, additional measures must be taken in the North West before any confirmed cases of COVID-19 are identified,” said Shire of Broome president Harold Tracey in a statement.

“With the tourism season approaching, where around half-a-million visitors travel to the Kimberley each year, we must act now,” he said.

This morning, WA state health minister Roger Cook told ABC Perth radio that the government doesn’t want people going into the region.

“[The] Kimberley is front and centre of our consideration at the moment. We are particularly concerned because we think those communities there are particularly vulnerable,” said Mr Cook.

“It’s very likely that you would see some strong actions taken in relation to the Kimberley in the coming days,” he said.

Last week, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service (KAMS) chief executive Vicki O'Donnel asked tourists to stay home. 

"My message to them would be that you should stay home and look after your own health for this year until we can get through this. Maybe travel next year," said Ms O'Donnell. 

"We've got a lot of sick people across the Kimberley," she said.

The WA Border will close on Tuesday afternoon. Premier McGowan has previously discouraged non-essential travel within WA.  

Off-shore rig workers to self-isolate in Broome after employee tests positive to COVID-19
The first case of COVID-19 recorded in Kimberley region after international worker from offshore rig tests positive, leading to the self-isolation of 24 "non-essential personnel" in a Broome resort.