WA slams shut border to NSW as cases surge

Mark McGowan has slammed shut WA’s hard border with NSW after 14 new COVID-19 cases were linked to the Bondi cluster.

Following updated health advice, NSW immediately transitioned to a “medium risk” jurisdiction” at 11am today.

Travel from NSW to WA is banned, except for a small number of exempt travellers and WA residents that are returning home.

Exempt travellers must self quarantine for 14 days, get tested within 48 hours of their arrival, if they develop symptoms while in isolation and again on day 11.

Anyone who has recently arrived from NSW prior to the hard border should continue to comply with the existing directions provided to them upon entry to WA.

That is, people who had been to a Sydney exposure site during the relevant times must self-quarantine for 14 days and be tested.

“In light of NSW’s growing COVID-19 outbreak, we have reintroduced a hard border with NSW based on the latest health advice,” the Premier said.

“We’ve been monitoring the situation closely and have scaled up our border controls as required, to keep our community safe.

“Naturally these immediate changes will cause inconvenience but the hard border is necessary to protect the health of Western Australians. I want to thank everyone for their understanding.”

Earlier, a raft of restrictions were imposed on Sydney residents after NSW recorded 14 new cases following a “super-spreader event”.

Camera IconHealth workers are seen at Bondi Beach Drive-through COVID-19 Clinic on June 23, 2021 in Sydney. Credit: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said restrictions were “effective immediately” for Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour.

The Bondi cluster now stands at 31 after an unvaccinated Sydney airport limousine driver last week tested positive to the highly infectious Delta variant, which quickly started spreading at Bondi Junction’s busy Westfield shopping centre.

“Please abandon non-essential activities, please don’t attend social gatherings unless you absolutely must,” Ms Berejiklian said on Wednesday. “I am not going to rule out further action.”

Residents who live or work in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside, and Woollahra local government areas cannot travel outside the metropolitan area unless it’s absolutely essential.

NSW recorded 10 locally acquired cases to 8pm on Tuesday, seven of which were already announced.

An additional 13 cases were reported after 8pm, which will be counted in Thursday’s official tally. Four of these cases are currently unlinked to existing cases.

Overall, there have been 16 new cases taking the total number of infections to 31, from 21 on Tuesday.

Under the new restrictions, household visitors are limited to five people, including children and masks are now compulsory in non-residential indoor settings – including workplaces – and at outdoor events.

Masks must also be worn to gym classes, which limited to 20 people. More than 44,000 tests were completed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday.

Eight of the 13 cases confirmed overnight had attended a birthday party attended by about 30 people in West Hoxton on Saturday, which NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant described as a “super spreader event”.

She warned there were people “unknowingly” infected in the community.

A general view of the Bondi Beach Drive-through COVID-19 Clinic with long lines stretching along Campbell Parade on June 23, 2021 in Sydney.
Camera IconA general view of the Bondi Beach Drive-through COVID-19 Clinic with long lines stretching along Campbell Parade on June 23, 2021 in Sydney. Credit: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

An asymptomatic worker from Bondi Junction went to the party as did a father and a daughter. The child then went to her childcare centre 60km southwest of Sydney’s CBD on Monday.

When asked how this outbreak differed from the one in Sydney’s Northern Beaches area late last year, Dr Chant said this cluster involved the Delta variant of the virus and while a retail environment was usually a low-risk setting, the speed of transmission was “particularly concerning”.

“We saw close contact but it would be the inadvertent contact you would have in retail settings that we would not have suspected transmission could happen as objectively,” Dr Chant said.

Other Australian states have imposed border restrictions for people from the hotspot areas, with Victoria on Tuesday declared seven Sydney local government areas “red zones”.

Earlier on Wednesday, NSW Health issued a health alert after a person infected with the virus flew from Sydney to New Zealand and back.

The alert was for passengers travelling on Qantas flight QF163 on Friday night to Wellington, and anyone who flew on Monday morning on Air New Zealand flight NZ247 from Wellington to Sydney.

Passengers on board those flights must contact NSW Health immediately, get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.

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