Western Australia’s Premier has announced arrivals from Victoria and NSW will soon be allowed to self-quarantine upon entering Western Australia.
Speaking to the press, Mark McGowan said that, as of Monday 5 October, people travelling to WA from Victoria and NSW will no longer be required to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense, following updated health advice in light of reduced cases in the eastern states.
Come next week, travellers will be allowed to self-isolate for 14 days at a “suitable premise” like a house, with rules for travellers from NSW also being brought into line with those that apply to travellers from other states and territories.
Provided the border restrictions are eased under the condition that case number in both states continue to “trend down”, McGowan said new conditions would include a COVID-19 test on travellers’ 11th day of quarantine.
“We recognised these measures were extremely tough and made life difficult for many people,” he said, according to ABC News.
“The results show these measures were highly successful in reducing the numbers of potential cases into Western Australia and protecting West Australians.
“We have now gone 171 days without community transmission in Western Australia.”
The WA Premier warned he would not “unnecessarily rush” to bring down his state’s hard border, which has been shut to interstate travellers since 5 April and will remain until the state government is confident community spread of the coronavirus is under control in other states.
Furthermore, McGowan also encouraged visitors to download and use the state’s locally-developed “G2G Now” app, which the Premier said would assist police by reducing the frequency of officers having to check-in on quarantining travellers.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson explained the app would help police perform “virtual quarantine checks” by using mobile location data and facial recognition technology to pinpoint travellers’ locations in real time.
Use of the app would be voluntary, but Dawson said greater uptake of G2G Now would help to free-up police resources to concentrate “on other matters” and “contribute to reducing those costs of quarantine management and enforcement”.
Police, he said, had already conducted 50,000 checks on self-quarantining arrivals.
WA Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said that while “the current situation in Victoria is improving”, it was anticipated “that it may still take a further two months to get this fully under control”, as reported by ABC News.
“The current Victorian mass gathering and public health measures are still unlikely to prevent exportation, particularly to neighbouring states,” Robertson said.
The news comes as Victoria recorded 13 new cases of the coronavirus overnight, and the loss of four lives. NSW recorded two new cases in quarantining travellers, but did not record any locally acquired cases overnight for the fourth day in a row.
It also comes as the world passes a tragic landmark: as of Tuesday morning (UK time), the number of people who have died from COVID-19 has exceeded 1 million, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University’s tally.
There have been 33.4 million coronavirus cases worldwide. However, The Guardian reported that the official figure probably underestimates the true total, according to a senior World Health Organization official.
Featured image source: ABC News