Western Australia could tighten border measures in NSW even further after threatening to treat the eastern state as “extreme risk” to the Delta outbreak that continues to be devastating.
This would result in a ban on all travel from NSW, even in the compassionate area, and possibly leave WA residents stranded on the east coast.
Speaking Thursday, WA Premier Mark McGowan said hundreds of residents have come home since he warned they needed proof they had been vaccinated against Covid and had returned a negative swab.
NSW recorded a staggering 681 new cases on Thursday, the highest daily total ever and there are dire concerns that things could get worse before they heal.
The state is currently considered “high risk” under WA’s five-point boundary classification.
This means that residents who wish to return home will have to apply for an exemption on a compassionate basis, subject to many conditions such as receiving a dose of Covid vaccine, returning a negative test before leaving and the people will also be forced into 14 days of home quarantine
Upgrading to “extreme risk” means exceptions on a compassionate basis are no longer available.
Mr. McGowan warned any WA residents seeking to return must “act now”.
“Western Australians who have left the state for NSW this year and wish to return can apply to do so on pitiful reasons, subject to conditions,” he said.
“This exemption category is no longer available if NSW is classified as an‘ extreme risk ’jurisdiction, so anyone seeking to return must act now. “
Mr McGowan also accused the NSW government of saying “did not do what was requested in June” to stem the Delta outbreak.
“It hasn’t done what it should have done, and it hasn’t done it for two months,” he told parliament on Thursday.
“It’s annoying hell to me that we’re going through this, that those states are going through this and New Zealand has to go through this.
“The ACT, which went without a case for more than a year, now has to go through it. Melbourne is going through it.”
He argued that the whole country was “paying the price” of the NSW government’s inability to act quickly.
“It’s one of the greatest public policy failures I’ve seen in my life of any government in Australia. It’s just appalling,” Mr McGowan said.
Of the new cases recorded in NSW on Thursday 170 were linked to a known case or cluster – including 149 household contacts and 21 close contacts – but there were 511 mystery infections.
There have been 9950 local cases since June 16 when the outbreak began.