A decision on whether WA will allow quarantine-free travel to people in NSW will not be made until next week, but Victorians can breathe a sigh of relief.
WA Premier Mark McGowan says the state should still be able to reopen to Victoria on Tuesday as planned, but a final decision on NSW will not be revealed until Monday.
Christmas travel plans were thrown into doubt this week after a NSW hotel quarantine worker tested positive for COVID-19, but it so far appears to be a single case rather than a more widespread outbreak.
“It is positive news,” Mr McGowan told reporters on Friday.
“Obviously, there’s testing still to be done. The woman in question — the cleaner — spent a lot of time on trains and trams between western Sydney and her workplace, and by all accounts was a very gregarious person.
“My expectation now is that we will make a final decision on NSW on Monday so that we take every precaution possible.”
But Mr McGowan said he did not think the NSW incident would affect planned changes to WA’s border arrangement with Victoria.
“The latest advice is we don’t think that the NSW outbreak will impede the changes to the borders with Victoria at this point in time,” he said.
“If that were to change over coming days, obviously we’d let people know.”
Mr McGowan said WA could continue to be cautious and careful.
“As you know over the last 12 months, what happens is things change with COVID,” he said.
“In the case of Victoria obviously, in the western suburbs of Melbourne, COVID bubbled away undetected for a considerable period of time and then they had that massive outbreak that caused mass deaths and mass disruption.”
WA last month moved from a hard border to a controlled interstate border with other jurisdictions, except South Australia following its outbreak.
It means people can travel to WA without quarantining for two weeks, but they must complete a G2G Pass and be screened upon arrival.
The Premier also suggested the COVID-19 vaccination could be compulsory for schoolchildren and anyone who wanted to travel overseas.
“I think there’ll be mass take-up of vaccinations … and very few people won’t take it up,” Mr McGowan said
“I suspect we’ll get to a situation where, if you want to travel overseas, you’ll be required to have a vaccination. Kids going to school will be, potentially, required to have a vaccination.
“All of those sorts of measures will be put in place to encourage, strongly, people to get vaccinated, but that’s a way away.
“We’ll work out all those measures to encourage people to get a vaccination.”
Mr McGowan said all of the premiers and the Prime Minister wanted people to get vaccinated and “there’s ways you can encourage people to do it”.
From Saturday, many WA businesses will be forced to keep a register of patrons and staff to help COVID-19 contact tracing, with a QR code system among the options.
Businesses that must keep a register include restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, gyms, sporting centres, places of worship, hairdressers, museums, cinemas, theatres, real estate inspections, zoos, amusement parks and accommodation facilities.
WA recorded two new cases of coronavirus overnight – a woman in her 30s and a man in his 40s who travelled from the United States and are in hotel quarantine.
It brings WA’s total number of infections to 825.