/ 21 January 2022

Western Australia not ready to join the rest of Oz

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Thanks, Omicron… Last night, Premier Mark McGowan said the COVID variant “has changed everything” and scuttled plans to open the state’s border on 5 February. Its ‘controlled interstate border arrangement’ will stay in place indefinitely – or at least until booster shots reach “at least 80%, perhaps 90%,” he says. The state’s 3rd dose vaccination rate is 25.8% of over 16yos. McGowan understands there will be disappointment, and “enhanced compassionate exemptions” will allow more people to enter the state – but they will still be required to isolate for 14 days. McGowan says it’s necessary because of high case numbers and disruptions in other parts of Oz, and “to do anything else without high levels of vaccination would basically mean we would be responsible for potentially lots of people dying.” Business and tourism representatives are none too happy, but medicos are divided. The state’s Australian Medical Association boss Dr Mark Duncan-Smith said delaying the re-opening was “a gutsy call”, but national president Dr Omar Khorshid called McGowan a “one-trick pony”.

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