Covid-19: WA shuts itself off from the rest of Australia

Western Australia has taken the extraordinary step of shutting itself off from the rest of the country as the Omicron strain of Covid-19 surges.

Western Australia is closing itself off from the rest of the country after the state government announced it will elevate the Northern Territory to “extreme risk” under its tough border measures.

The change will come into effect from 12.01am on Thursday, which will mean every jurisdiction will then be deemed “extreme risk”.

Under that classification, exemptions will only be approved for commonwealth and state officials, members of parliament, diplomats, and in specialist or extraordinary circumstances.

Approved travellers must have at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and undertake hotel quarantine at a state facility for 12 days at their own expense, plus a further two days at a suitable premise.

They must also undergo testing within 24 hours of arrival, as well as on days five and 13.

Premier Mark McGowan warned WA residents in the NT to come home immediately or risk being locked out.

“We know the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly around much of the country and unfortunately the Northern Territory is now too seeing an accelerating caseload in the community,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We have moved swiftly on Northern Territory to reduce the risk of more Omicron cases in self-quarantine.

“Our controlled border remains a vital tool to protect WA as we work to push our vaccination rates as high as possible towards (the reopening date of) February 5, including third doses and vaccinations for five to 11-year-olds.

“We are well on track to exceed our 90 per cent double dose target in the lead up to our safe transition.”

Meanwhile, WA recorded two new local cases of Covid-19 and four travel-related cases overnight.

One new local case is a woman who acquired the virus from an unknown source and further investigations continue to determine where she may have been exposed.

Genomic sequencing is also underway to determine the variant. She is now in quarantine.

“Based on the most available information from contact tracers, the woman was infectious in the community but did not attend work and there are likely a limited number of potential exposure sites,” WA Health said in a statement.

“Exposure sites will be released as soon as possible, once confirmed.”

The other local case is linked to the Hyatt Hotel security guard cluster.

They are a close contact of a previous case and have been in quarantine throughout their infectious period.

Three of the other new cases are related to returned interstate travellers and one is an overseas traveller. All are in quarantine.

Originally published as WA shuts itself off from the rest of Australia as every jurisdiction is classified ‘extreme risk’

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