An Australian state that may NEVER reopen its borders as coronavirus targets are ‘very tight’
- Western Australia stands firm in its refusal to reopen its borders across Australia
- Said states and territories should not record community transmissions for 28 days
- Health experts warn the country’s ‘awesome’ benchmark may never be achieved
- The state’s chief health officer said tough borders were essential to managing the coronavirus threat
Western Australia may never reopen its tough borders to the rest of the country unless ‘senseless tightening’ is relaxed, an epidemiologist warned.
Prime Minister Mark McGowan has refused to reopen borders until all other states and territories do not register community transmissions for 28 consecutive days.
His stance was echoed by state chief health officer Andy Robertson this week, who argues that tough borders are essential to managing corona virus threat in WA.
But the NSW University Professor World Health Organization advisor Mary-Louise McLaws has warned WA benchmarks may never be reached.
WA closed its border with the rest of the country six months ago and has not reopened it. Pictured are police stopping a driver at a checkpoint 110 km south of Perth
‘I think those 28 days are nothing to watch out for,’ said Professor McLaws A B C.
‘This is admirable, but seeks total eradication, or close to (it). And I don’t think we can do it. ‘
He believes the two-week rolling average of less than five cases across all states and territories is more realistic.
It’s been six months since WA closed its borders with the rest of the country for the first time on April 2.
McGowan is the only state or territory leader not committed to reopening borders before Christmas at the recent National Cabinet meeting.
The state government website says Western Australia’s borders will only reopen ‘when necessary’, based on health advice for WA.
“It is assessed and considered regularly,” the website added.
The West Australian border will not open until all other states and territories have not recorded community transmissions for 28 consecutive days. Pictured is the sleepy Perth Airport
Dr Robertson said the country is constantly monitoring the developing situation.
“If you look at the modeling, we are now probably one of the most vulnerable states if the infection gets in here,” he told the ABC.
WA health authorities are struggling to contain an outbreak of 17 cases on the cargo ship Patricia Oldendorff which is anchored off the coast of Port Headland on the northwest coast.
No new cases were reported as of Wednesday, but nine people remain on board as top crew, seven of whom have tested positive.
There are also 12 crew members in quarantine at the fenced Hedland Hotel, where all but two of them tested positive.
The state government website says Western Australia’s borders will only reopen ‘when necessary’. Pictured is the state capital of Perth
NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian slammed states with strict border restrictions, claiming they “live in a false sense of security”.
“They welcome people from other states,” Berejiklian told Sunrise on Wednesday.
“ We’ve said if you want to keep the economy going, get rid of borders, allow people to move freely, run the tourism industry and of course, we can see opportunities to allow more people into the hospitality scene, but we need to make sure we’re ready for that. ‘
NSW has recorded the sixth consecutive day of zero community transmission as Queensland opened its borders to 152,000 far north shore NSW residents on Thursday, in time for a public holiday weekend and the second week of school holidays.
The only two new cases recorded in NSW on Thursday were tourists in hotel quarantines,
The two-week rolling average in virus-hit Victoria has dropped to 15.6, although there were 15 more cases as of Thursday.
WA chief health officer Andy Robertson said tough borders were essential to managing the coronavirus threat. Pictured is Perth’s Elizabeth Quay Bridge that lights up red on Wednesday evening