No national COVID rules in WA until Feb 5

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  • Mark McGowan
    Western Australian politician

New national definitions for COVID-19 close contacts, isolation periods and testing will not apply to Western Australia until it opens its borders in February.

Premier Mark McGowan said it was widely accepted at Thursday's national cabinet meeting that WA was in a different situation to the rest of the country due to its lower case numbers.

"We have one case today, NSW had 11,000, so we are in a very, very different position to the other states," Mr McGowan told reporters on Thursday.

"Which is why our testing, tracing isolation and quarantine systems are all still working. Over there, they have all collapsed."

Under the new national rules, fully vaccinated positive cases will be able to leave isolation after seven days of taking the test, but will need to return a negative rapid antigen test on day six.

A close contact will only cover household or intimate contacts who spent more than four hours with a positive case.

WA recorded one new COVID-19 case on Thursday - an unvaccinated 27-year-old backpacker who may have been infectious in the community.

The man was a close contact of another case, with whom he shared a bathroom and brings the cluster connected to a French backpacker to 13.

The Frenchman flew from Queensland to Perth before the border tightened and went to a Perth Mess Hall dance party 10 days ago.

WA has also again tightened border rules for Queenslanders and South Australians due to growing cases in both states, deeming them 'extreme risk'.

From 6pm on Friday, travellers will not be permitted into WA except for commonwealth and state officials, members of parliament, diplomats, and people who perform specialist roles.

"My advice to any Western Australian that has an approved G2G pass and wishes to return home from those jurisdictions is to do so immediately" Mr McGowan said.

All approved travellers must be double-dose vaccinated and have returned a negative PCR test in the 72 hours before arriving in WA.

They must also undertake hotel quarantine at a state-run facility for 14 days at their own expense and get tested for the virus on days one, five and 13.

WA's first-dose vaccination rate climbed to 91.7 per cent for people aged over 12, and 83.6 per cent for two doses.

While aiming for COVID-zero from the backpacker cluster, Mr McGowan said the state would still open to the world on February 5.

Restrictions remain in place to drive down the virus and the government will release grants for businesses impacted by those measures.

Up to $12,500 for small businesses and up to $4400 for sole traders will be made available for those who can demonstrate a reduction in turnover of at least 30 per cent compared to the same 11 day period from last year.

Nightclubs that have been forced to close are eligible for a one-off $20,000 grant and events and festivals hit can get support for 75 per cent of box office loss, capped at $150,000.

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