States and territories react to WA’s shock five-day lockdown

Coronavirus pandemic reported on the map of Western Australia. Spread of COVID-19 represented with red circles on a black background, like a radar screen. Conceptual image: coronavirus detected, quarantined area, spread of the disease, coronavirus outbreak on the territory, virus alert, danger zone, confined space, closing of borders, area under control, stop coronavirus, defeat the virus. Vector Illustration (EPS10, well layered and grouped). Easy to edit, manipulate, resize or colorize.

Australia’s states and territories have reacted swiftly to Western Australia’s snap lockdown, after one of the state’s hotel quarantine workers returned a positive COVID-19 test.

The five-day lockdown was introduced for the Perth metropolitan area, Peel and the South West regions of WA at 6pm (AWST) last night, and will remain until the same time on Friday.

People in these regions will be required to stay at home unless they need to work because they can’t work from home or remotely, or shop for essentials like groceries, medicine and necessary supplies.

Those with medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements and looking after the vulnerable, are also exempt from the stay-at-home order.

Those wishing to exercise can do so, but with only one other person, limited to one hour per day in their neighbourhood, and masks must be worn.

People in the affected WA regions are required to wear masks at all times when outside of their place of residence, including at workplaces and on public transport.

The shock lockdown comes just one day after the WA government announced it would begin allowing quarantine-free travel from Queensland from today, before also moving Victoria to the ‘low risk’ category from Friday.

Unsurprisingly, it has prompted all other states and territories to update their respective travel restrictions.

NSW

A new public health order in NSW places travellers from Western Australia coming to the state since 25 January under the same ‘stay-at-home’ restrictions as they would have faced had they stayed in WA.

The new public health order requires all new arrivals to complete an interstate traveller declaration confirming whether they attended any of the venues listed on the WA Health website, and providing contact details.

Any travellers to NSW who have been at places of concern will be required to be tested and isolate for 14 days if they attended any of the named venues.

In addition, any people who have been in any of the named WA local government areas in the Peel region, the Perth Metro region and the South West region on or since Monday 25 January will be required to get tested within 48 hours of arrival in NSW.

They will also have to stay at home for five days, until 9pm on Friday 5 February. If they do not get tested, they are required to remain at home for a total of 14 days.

Victoria

The Victorian government has moved the Perth metropolitan area, the Peel region and the South West region of WA from a green zone to a red zone under its ‘traffic light’ travel permit system.

If travellers to Victoria have been in one of the red zones since 25 January, they will not be allowed to enter the state without an exception, exemption or permitted worker permit.

People who have arrived in Victoria from WA red zones between 25 January and 9pm (AEDT) on 31 January will be required to isolate, get tested within 72 hours of arriving (or as soon as possible if they have arrived more than 72 hours ago) and remain self-isolated until they receive a negative test result.

Queensland

Queensland Health is now requesting that anyone who is already in the state but has been in Perth, the Peel region or the South West region since 25 January 25 should come forward and get tested and isolate until they get a negative result.

Anyone arriving into Queensland who has been in the three affected areas of WA since 25 January will be required to go into 14 days mandatory hotel quarantine.

“This timeframe may change as we receive more information about the WA outbreak,” Queensland Health said in an update.

South Australia

SA Health has reclassified Western Australia as a prohibited zone, meaning people who have been in the state will not be permitted entry into South Australia.

Exceptions to this include essential travellers, people escaping domestic violence, persons who normally reside in South Australia, and those relocating to the state.

Those who happened to be at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Perth on or after 24 January must immediately self-quarantine with their household and complete a survey to notify SA Health that they were at this location.

Those who travelled to South Australia on or after 12.01 am on 26 January from WA must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days, and get a COVID-19 test immediately and again on day five and day 12 of quarantine.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory’s Chief Health Officer has declared Perth, the Peel region and the South West region of Western Australia as COVID-19 hotspots.

Anyone travelling to the Northern Territory from a COVID-19 hotspot must undertake 14 days of mandatory, supervised quarantine at the Alice Springs or Howard Springs quarantine facilities at a cost of $2,500 per person.

Quarantine will be undertaken at the first urban centre that affected travellers arrive at, including for transit.

Any person who has arrived in the NT between 25 January and 31 January from a declared hotspot in WA must have a COVID-19 test and undertake self-quarantine until a negative test is returned.

Tasmania

The Tasmanian government has declared the Perth metropolitan, Peel and South West regions of WA ‘high risk’ areas.

Anyone intending to travel to Tasmania who has been in any of these areas in the 14 days prior to arrival will not be permitted to enter, unless approved by the Deputy State Controller, and they will be required to quarantine.

Tasmanians coming home will still be allowed to, but they will need to quarantine when they arrive here in suitable premises, should they have them.

ACT

ACT Health is asking anybody who has been to the Perth metropolitan area or the Peel and South West regions of Western Australia since 25 January to self-quarantine and get tested for COVID-19.

“In line with the WA government’s own lockdown we are saying that anyone who has been to one of these regions since 25 January should quarantine until 9pm on Friday 5 February, even after they have received their test results,” ACT Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Vanessa Johnston said.

“We are also asking that non-ACT residents who are in Western Australia to not travel to the ACT at this time.”

Other border restrictions eased

In more positive news, Victoria, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, and the ACT have all eased border restrictions for travellers from certain states.

Victoria has moved the last NSW red zone (Cumberland) to an orange zone, allowing anyone from the state’s northern neighbour with a permit to enter.

Furthermore, the Greater Sydney LGAs of Blacktown, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, the Inner West, Parramatta, Strathfield, and Liverpool have transitioned from orange to green; along with Wollongong and the Blue Mountains.

The Northern Territory has revoked the Greater Sydney LGAs of Blacktown, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, the Inner West, Parramatta, Strathfield, and Liverpool as hotspots.

This means people arriving in the NT from these LGAs will no longer have to undertake mandatory supervised quarantine. Anyone currently in mandatory quarantine from these areas will be able to exit.

Tasmania has lifted its last remaining border restrictions for NSW (which were for 10 Sydney LGAs) meaning the state is now open to the entirety of Australia (excluding the new restrictions for WA).

Finally, the ACT has removed travel restrictions for Sydney’s Cumberland LGA, meaning there are no longer any restrictions in place for travel to the ACT from any state or territory (except WA, of course).


Featured image source: iStock/bgblue

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