Washington State Health Minister Roger Cook wears mask, capacity limits once hard border is lowered
Western Australia may reintroduce masks and capacity limits at reception venues when state borders fall, Health Minister Roger Cook said.
- The wearing of the mask could be reintroduced once the WA borders fall.
- Capacity restrictions at reception sites could also be applied.
- Restrictions on unvaccinated people are also likely
The unfettered freedom to enter WA only applies to three states and territories due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
But when questioned by the ABC on Monday, Mr Cook predicted what life might be like in WA at a time when strict border controls were relaxed.
“We need to have a public conversation about what it looks like when these borders fall completely,” Mr. Cook said.
He said authorities would potentially limit the number of people in places such as pubs, restaurants and large venues.
Restrictions for unvaccinated
Mr Cook said “in due course” that there would also be limits on the freedoms of people not vaccinated against COVID-19, but would not set a date for such a decision.
He said the vaccination target for the state was still 80-90%, which WA is expected to reach in late November or early December, with the help of Moderna’s rollout to drugstores.
49.8 percent of the eligible population in WA were fully immunized, while 66.6 percent received their first dose.
56.9% of people aged 16 and over have been fully immunized nationally, with 79.6% waiting to receive their first dose.
Mr Cook said when vaccination rates were higher, the border would play a less important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
When asked if he thinks Western Australians feel limited by the approach to the state’s hard borders, he said travel to states with major outbreaks is not ” a priority for people at the moment “.
Isolation of Adelaide Flight Passengers
More than 150 passengers on a Virgin Australia flight from Adelaide to Perth are isolated and tested for COVID-19 after being considered casual contacts of a positive case.
Adelaide Airport has been seen as a potential exposure site after a woman who flew from Victoria to South Australia on Friday evening tested positive for COVID-19.
WA Minister of Health Roger Cook said 157 passengers on a flight that left the airport for Perth on Friday evening were also being tested for the virus.
He said the incident was “low risk” with 18 people returning negative tests so far.
The passengers would remain in quarantine until they returned negative test results.
Meanwhile, two other people aboard the oil and chemical tanker Stolt Sakura, moored at Fremantle port, were transferred to Fiona Stanley Hospital for treatment.
Mr Cook said 12 of the 22 crew members tested positive for the virus, including six currently in hospital and two in serious but stable condition in intensive care.
He said eight crew members had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and only one of those people tested positive and they remain on the ship.
Family member of diplomat tested positive
Mr Cook said a family member of a government official who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday also contracted the virus.
The Australian diplomat, who traveled to Perth with his family from Serbia via Dubai, tested positive while isolating himself in a Northbridge apartment.
The family has since been transferred to quarantine at the hotel.
Aside from the family member, Mr Cook said all of their other close contacts tested negative.
“Our health authorities indicate that this is an extremely low risk to public health, but we are not taking any risks and all precautions are taken,” he said.
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