Sydney virus cases justify WA border rules

Tim Dornin
·3-min read

The emergence of more COVID-19 cases in Sydney is a concerning development and justifies Western Australia's renewed hard border restrictions with NSW, Acting Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook says.

NSW has been declared a medium-risk state, meaning travellers can only enter WA with an exemption and then they must quarantine for 14 days.

All other states and territories are considered very low risk with no quarantine requirements.

Mr Cook said just how long the measures remain in place depends on how quickly NSW authorities get on top of the current coronavirus clusters.

"They look like they are getting on top of the Avalon cluster quite well," he said.

"We've now seen an outbreak in the Croydon area and there's still some mystery cases which is very concerning.

"But the NSW government has done a great job doing mass testing....that's the best way to make sure they can get on top of these outbreaks as soon as possible."

Mr Cook said the state government would continue to monitor the situation in Sydney and would take advice on its restrictions from the chief public health officer.

He declined to comment directly on whether or not the NSW government should impose a statewide lockdown but said the WA would take "decisive and concerted" action if it had a worrying outbreak of coronavirus cases.

His comments came as the government also moved to increase security at Perth's quarantine hotels amid a flood of complaints from people unhappy with their treatment in the system.

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson has confirmed there's been more than 2000 formal complaints among the 30,000 people accommodated since the start of the pandemic.

But he says the measures are necessary to keep all West Australians safe.

"We know that people are unhappy with certain things," Mr Dawson said.

"No, we can't allow them to walk around the parks. They can't all have balconies. They can't all live like they are normally accustomed to.

"But I repeat again, we are in a state of emergency.

"We do this on public health advice. It's worked for Western Australia to date."

The increased security measures were recommended in a review prompted by the escape of a woman who failed to complete 14 days in supervised isolation.

Jenny Maree D'ubios had arrived from Madrid on December 19 and absconded on Saturday morning.

WA police found her hours later at Rockingham Hospital, southwest of Perth.

She was charged with failing to comply with a direction under the Emergency Management Act, was refused bail and will appear in court again in January.

The increased security arrangements include new protocols for dealing with people who had breached quarantine requirements or were considered at risk of doing so.

Contracted security guards at quarantine hotels will get increased powers to prevent people breaching directions. Physical barriers to stop people leaving the hotels will also be improved, including secure entry and exit points along with existing lockdown lifts and floors.