The WA Government has not ruled out reintroducing some coronavirus restrictions as a precautionary measure to protect against the Victorian outbreak sparking a similar surge in cases within the State.
After Victoria reported a record 191 new COVID-19 cases today, Deputy Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook said “we don’t rule anything in or out”.
“We will do whatever is necessary to protect Western Australians’ health. And if that means pulling things back a little bit further, well, then we’ll do it.”
Asked whether West Australians faced the prospect of being placed further into lockdown because of the Victorian second wave, Mr Cook said: “Ultimately, we need to take whatever measures are necessary to protect Western Australians.
“I haven’t seen any suggestion that we’d go backwards as a result of what’s going on Victoria but it does give us obviously a reason to very carefully consider easing of restrictions around Phase Five.”
The Australians Medical Association (WA) has voiced fears that the removal of almost all restrictions within the State means that a single patient slipping into the State undetected could rapidly spread the disease.
It appears increasingly unlikely the western derby will be played in front of a sold-out Optus Stadium with Mr Cook saying it “makes sense that they push pause” on ticket sales in light of the “very concerning” Victorian outbreak.
“If we get to… the end of this week (and) we are still not confident about the situation with regards to Victoria then we need to push pause on Phase Five,” he said.
“Obviously we have to take note of the health advice and the situation in Victoria means that we’ll be taking very careful consideration of that advice.”
A decision on the move to Phase Five restrictions — which would remove all remaining protective measures besides the hard border with the east and clear the way for 60,000 western derby spectators — will be made by the weekend.
Under current Phase Four restrictions a maximum of 30,000 would be permitted to attend the game.
International arrivals into WA will be capped 525 per week after the Commonwealth Government last night approved a request from Premier Mark McGowan to “slow the flow” of overseas travellers in a bid to ease pressure on the hotel quarantine system.
There are currently more than 1300 people self-isolating in CBD hotels with an additional two international flights carrying 245 passengers landing in Perth today.
WA recorded no new cases of coronavirus overnight and the number of active cases remains at 12, each of which is a returned overseas traveller in hotel quarantine.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has proposed the creation of Trans-Tasman travel bubbles with individual States but Mr Cook said the idea was not supported by the WA Government.
“We’re not considering it at the moment,” Mr Cook said, adding he was concerned about creating a backdoor into WA that would allow people to travel into the State via New Zealand.