Major changes to WA Covid rules as Mark McGowan signals the ‘real impact’ of the state’s Omicron wave – here’s everything you need to know about the new restrictions
BREAKING NEWS: Western Australia quarantine period halved to seven days
The state’s international arrivals cap will double to 530 people per week
Indoor face to face events in schools are banned and school camps cancelled
By Padraig Collins For Daily Mail Australia
Published: 08:43 GMT, 7 February 2022 | Updated: 08:55 GMT, 7 February 2022
Western Australia’s quarantine period for interstate and international travellers and close contacts of Covid-19 cases are set to be halved.
State Premier Mark McGowan announced the change which sees quarantine drop from 14 days to seven for close contacts from Tuesday.
The new one week quarantine period for travellers comes into effect on Wednesday, while WA’s international arrivals cap will double to 530 people per week.
But Mr McGowan said this was not a sign the pandemic was over, but was the start of the ‘real impact’ of Omicron in the state.
Members of the public are seen wearing face masks in the Perth CBD
Mr McGowan said there were 265 active Covid-19 cases in WA and daily case numbers are likely to rise, in part due to the the arrival of 12,000 interstate travellers last weekend.
‘As a result, our current high caseload settings detailed last month will now be introduced,’ he said.
‘WA is about to embark on its most challenging phase of the pandemic. For two years, WA has avoided the worst.
‘Our safe and cautious approach throughout the pandemic has helped put WA in the best possible position to manage Covid-19 safely.’
The premier said the state now faces ‘a difficult period. We’re going to get more cases and we’re going to get them sooner.
‘Just to illustrate, the day we announced the settings last month we recorded nine new local cases, today we recorded 26. However, by comparison, the day NSW brought in these kinds of rules it recorded many thousands of daily cases.’
Mr McGowan said opening up the state means Covid will spread faster, ‘but it’s necessary to keep the community moving.
‘WA should take high caseload seriously, but it’s not a cause for panic, not at all, we’re prepared for this.
‘Keep up your activities, keep going to work, support your local businesses, but be sensible and be safe.’
The one week quarantine for travellers to WA is subject to returning a rapid antigen test on the seventh day.
If that proves negative, the traveller must then wear masks indoors and outdoors for the next week.
There are also changes to how a close contact will be defined. It will now mean household members or the intimate partner of a Covid case or anyone that has had 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with that person while not wearing a mask.
WA Premier Mark McGowan speaks to the media during a press conference in Perth
Close contacts who are isolating will have to do a PCR or rapid antigen test on day one and another RAT on day seven.
The close contact rules will differ for schools and childcare centres to keep them safe.
Face to face contact for 15 minutes or more with an infectious person where a mask was not worn or interaction for more than two hours in a small indoor space where masks were not worn will be considered a close contact in schools.
Indoor face to face events in schools are banned, school camps cancelled and timetables and pick up/drop off times will be changed where possible.
Earlier on Monday, the federal government announced Australia’s international border will reopen from February 21 to double dose vaccinated travellers.
The border has been closed to most for the past two years due to the pandemic.
Share or comment on this article: