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McGowan cancels Feb 5 with no new reopening date revealed

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The WA border will open in stages, Premier Mark McGowan has revealed, with quarantine requirements to stay indefinitely.

Quarantine-free international and interstate travel was scheduled to restart on February 5 — just 16 days away.

However, the government has opted to open the border in several stages, arguing an unrestricted opening would be “reckless and irresponsible.”

From February 5, the hard border’s settings will be upgraded to allow for new exemptions for interstate travellers. These will include broad compassionate reasons and those who have “specialist skills.”

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Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

All entrants will have to self-isolate for 14 days, be triple dose vaccinated, and undertake a heavy testing regime.

International entrants will have to undergo seven days of hotel quarantine and seven days of home quarantine.

Mr McGowan said that the border rules would be reviewed “over the course of the next month.”

The Premier said that the rapid spread of Omicron “changed everything” — with insufficient data to predict where WA case numbers and hospitalisations would peak.

“Unfortunately, even double-dose vaccinated people aren’t strongly protected against Omicron,” he said.

“Omicron is a whole new threat that we can’t ignore.

“So far, the science shows that people with only two doses of a COVID vaccine have only a 4 per cent protection against being infected by the Omicron variant.

“With a third dose it can provide a 64 per cent protection against infection.”

25.8 per cent of West Australians aged 16 and over have received a third dose. Mr McGowan said he would like to get to 80 or 90 per cent triple dose coverage.

Mr McGowan previously said the only reason he would delay the border reopening was due to an “unforeseen emergency”, such as if the Omicron strain turned out to be more deadly.

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