WA premier won't rule out more lockdowns

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Western Australia's premier is refusing to rule out the prospect of lockdowns before the state achieves 90 per cent double-dose vaccination.

Mark McGowan insisted WA was tracking "very strongly" towards the ambitious target for residents aged 12 and above, as it crawled on Monday towards the 70 per cent mark.

But he refused to say how many cases would trigger a lockdown in the coming months as WA looks towards reopening its borders in late-January or early-February.

"It depends on the circumstances," he told reporters.

"We've had 12 days of lockdown since last April, one of the lowest rates of lockdown of anywhere in the world, and that's led to outstanding health and economic outcomes here.

"It's a measure that would be a last resort but you keep it up your sleeve as we track to those very high levels of vaccination so we don't have a mass outbreak.

"I'm very, very hopeful and very confident that we won't need to do it."

WA's expected timeline for reopening the borders is contingent upon the state achieving 90 per cent full vaccination.

Mr McGowan has promised to provide further clarity once the rate hits 80 per cent, expected in early-December.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday hinted WA may accelerate its plans to coincide with Perth potentially hosting the fifth Ashes Test between the Australia and England cricket teams from January 14 at Optus Stadium.

"We'd like to see Western Australia open as soon as possible," Mr Hunt told the ABC's Insiders program.

"It's obviously a matter for them, it's subject to their assessments.

"But we are hearing that they are considering bringing that forward to at least, well coincidentally, to time with the cricket."

Mr McGowan flatly denied the claim, saying he had never met or spoken to Mr Hunt.

"He's got a very vivid imagination. He hasn't spoken to the health minister," the premier told reporters.

"I just urge the commonwealth government to stop making things up.

"I don't know why he would think that. He has no basis to say that."

Mr McGowan said no decisions had been made on the Ashes Test as WA looks to fend off interest in the lucrative event from Tasmania.

Officials are yet to reveal for how long the visiting teams would need to quarantine but there are suggestions it could be five days.

Such an arrangement would prompt an inevitable backlash given visitors from NSW, Victoria and the ACT are currently required to isolate for 14 days.

There are growing concerns about the capacity of WA's besieged hospitals to handle a potential outbreak.

Opposition health spokeswoman Libby Mettam said three heart surgeries had been cancelled at Perth's Fiona Stanley Hospital last week, accusing the government of failing to ensure there were sufficient intensive care beds.

Health Minister Roger Cook said the state's hospitals were under unprecedented demand but new ICU beds were being commissioned.

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