Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan has confirmed the state will open up when 90 per cent of Western Australians over the age of 12 are double vaccinated.
That milestone is expected to be reached “in late January or early February”, however the exact transition date won’t be announced until the state hits the 80 per cent double dose mark.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mr McGowan described Western Australia’s Safe Transition Plan as a “world first”.
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“What’s unique about our plan is that it’s intended for border controls to ease at a point where there is no community transmission in Western Australia, combined with very, very high levels of vaccination,” he said.
“This puts us in the best possible position to transition with minimal impact on our health, our economy, and our way of life. We have done so well. We do not want to fall at the last hurdle.”
Known as being the state with the toughest border restrictions, Mr McGowan defended going against the national cabinet plan.
“Our approach to our Safe Transition Plan hasn’t been rushed. It’s been careful, methodical, thorough and always based on the best expert health advice,” he said.
“The decision to target a 90% vaccination rate is based on extensive modelling which shows us the rates of community infections, hospitalisations and deaths are far lower if we make this change at 90%, when compared with an 80% target.”
Mr McGowan admitted the news will be “disappointing” for many people with friends and family interstate and overseas who were hoping to be reunited by Christmas.
“I understand there will be disappointment for some. I know some people will be frustrated that they may not be able to be reunited with family over Christmas,” he said.
“But, as difficult as it is, it is for the right reasons.
“Our Safe Transition Plan is about following the health advice and keeping WA safe – and we need to achieve the 90% vaccination rate to safely make the transition.
“This will ensure there is minimal impact on WA’s unique way of life, and mean we can make longer-term plans, with certainty.”
Currently, WA allows quarantine-free travel with Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania.
New South Wales will be downgraded to a ‘high risk’ jurisdiction at midnight tonight, while the ACT and Victoria remain classified as ‘medium’ and ‘extreme’ risk.
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