November 8, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Western Australia is set to open its border to fully vaccinated travellers from all Australian states and territories and scrap quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated international arrivals in late January or early February, the state’s Premier Mark McGowan announced on Friday.

A 90 percent vaccination target for those aged 12 and over has been set, with the date for border reopening to be locked in once Western Australia reaches 80 percent vaccination coverage, expected next month.

“I want to stress, the 90 percent target threshold could be reached earlier or later but once we hit 80 percent and then set the specific date for transition, that date will be locked in to provide everyone with the certainty they need to plan ahead and be prepared for the next stage of this pandemic,” said McGowan.

“The aim is to provide certainty for Western Australians, to provide certainty on how business and our unique way of life can continue safely once we further ease our controlled borders.”

Once borders open, the conditions for entry will be same for both interstate and international arrivals – full vaccination and two tests to be taken on either side of arrival – the first in the 72 hours prior to arrival in WA and the second within 48 hours of entering the state. Fourteen days quarantine in a designated facility will still be required for unvaccinated international travellers. Unvaccinated domestic travellers will not be allowed to enter the state.

As part of the transition, face masks will be required in high risk settings including public transport, hospitals and aged care. Full vaccination will be required for entry into night clubs and events of more than 1,000 people.

Contact registers will still be required as will event plans for large gatherings.

McGowan said the public health measures were interim.

“They won’t last forever. But they will put us in the best position in case of an outbreak. Our baseline public health and social measures are critical levers that will be able to be strengthened if the threat changes.”

Strengthened measures include increased mask wearing, capacity and density limits for businesses and venues, additional proof of vaccination requirements and rapid testing in workplaces.

The requirements for entry into the state will also be reviewed regularly and removed when health advice deems it appropriate.

McGowan also flagged the possibility of introducing intrastate borders when the state and international border reopens if regional areas have low vaccination rates.

“The next step is coming. After nearly two years, we’re on the verge of new chapter – a chapter that will reconnect Western Australia with the rest of the world.”