WA to ease border to NSW, release roadmap

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Western Australia is easing border restrictions with NSW and will soon reveal its roadmap to reopening to coronavirus-hit states.

Premier Mark McGowan says NSW will be downgraded from "extreme" to "high" risk from 12.01am on Saturday, allowing more people to travel into WA.

Approved travellers will still need to be fully vaccinated, isolate for 14 days at home and get tested before and after entering WA.

Only a limited number of people will be eligible for an exemption, including senior government officials, federal MPs, active military personnel, specialist workers, authorised officers and those given approval by the State Emergency Co-ordinator.

West Australians who have recently travelled to NSW and have a "legitimate right to return" can also come home if they provide evidence and quarantine.

Mr McGowan said the change was based on the latest health advice, as cases continue to fall in NSW despite the state reopening.

"The evolving situation in NSW remains serious," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"But, thankfully, due to vaccination, we are seeing a noticeable period where the number of new infections is dropping."

Victoria, meanwhile, will remain classed as an "extreme" risk region and the ACT "medium".

People in the "very low" risk jurisdictions of Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are able to freely enter WA.

Mr McGowan also confirmed he would unveil the state's long-awaited roadmap on Friday, following the lead of other COVID-free states.

It had previously been slated for release when 80 per cent of WA residents 12 and over were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, not forecast to occur until at least December

Unlike Queensland, SA and Tasmania, Mr McGowan has flagged WA will not reopen to Victoria and NSW until at least 2022.

"It's been carefully calibrated for the Western Australian context," he said of the roadmap.

"We haven't rushed it. NSW and Victoria have had to rush these things because they've had a massive outbreak that's killed many people."

With the reopening inevitably inviting COVID-19 into the state, the WA government has moved to boost hospital capacity.

An additional $400 million will be poured into the health system to deliver 270 new beds in an effort to meet growing demand and prepare the state for when the border is reopened.

"COVID is coming," Mr McGowan said at Royal Perth Hospital, which will get 52 new beds.

"We've seen the havoc it has caused on the east coast - the deaths, the social and economic destruction, the suffering both in the short and the long term."

He added the bed boost was equivalent to bringing a new hospital online and "more than caters" for the expected pressure COVID-19 will put on the system.

The additional beds will cost $206.8 million, with another $191.2 million set aside to fund 410 extra nurses and more than 180 extra doctors in hospital wards.

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