Western Australia could keep its hard border in place with NSW for months if the eastern state does not get its Covid-19 outbreak under control, the Premier has warned.
NSW recorded a further 344 new locally acquired cases of the virus overnight, with 65 of them active in the community while infectious and another 100 under investigation.
WA Premier Mark McGowan, who has repeatedly criticised his NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian for her handling of the outbreak, told reporters on Wednesday that it appeared certain people had “believed all that gold standard rubbish”.
Mr McGowan indicated the border with NSW would remain shut until Australia reached the 70 per cent vaccination threshold, which was not expected until closer to the end of the year.
Asked if he thought that meant people would not be able to see their relatives and friends in NSW until then, Mr McGowan said: “Yes, I do. It’s very sad … particularly if you’ve got elderly parents that you can’t go and see them, and like many people I’m in that position.”
The WA border could stay closed to NSW long-term. Picture: Matt Jelonek/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Mr McGowan said “you could count on two hands” the number of people arriving in WA every day from NSW at the moment, but he suggested the border restrictions could soon become even tighter.
“These are defence officers, government officials, members of parliament — it’s very few people out of NSW,” he said.
“We’re looking at what else can be done to toughen even further as we speak.
“We may have something further to say about that over the coming week.”
West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has repeatedly criticised his NSW counterpart during the latest outbreak. Picture: Matt Jelonek/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Ms Berejiklian has flagged easing restrictions in NSW after the state reaches six million jabs, but Mr McGowan said that approach was wrong.
“It’s a threat to the entire country,” he said.
“NSW just needs to crush and kill the virus … that’s what every other state has done.
“I hear them say it can’t be done. Well, Victoria did it, Adelaide did it, Perth did it, Brisbane did it.
“They’re risking the lives of their citizens and they’re risking everyone else.”
Mr McGowan called on the NSW government to “have the backbone to do what is required”.
“NSW really needed to put in place lockdowns earlier, but that’s water under the bridge … now they need to actually lockdown properly,” he said.
“It’s all out over regional NSW because they didn’t do what was required.
“It’s just always playing catch up — they need to get ahead of the virus. That’s the lesson of every other state.”
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