West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has urged NSW to go into lockdown to extinguish its growing COVID-19 cluster amid frustration about his own state’s testing capacity.
Under WA’s latest changes, anyone arriving from NSW is required to self-quarantine for 14 days and get tested on day 11.
A cluster on Sydney’s northern beaches has jumped to 28 people, with residents urged to stay home where possible for the next three days.
But the Berejiklian government has resisted mirroring the hardline lockdowns implemented by Victoria and South Australia to quash outbreaks.
“I think NSW should go to tougher measures,” Mr McGowan told reporters on Friday.
“The sooner that NSW crushes it, the sooner they kill it, the better it is for them and the better it is for the entire country.
“What Victoria and South Australia showed is you can eliminate the virus.
“You can kill the virus if you put in place the right measures.”
Almost 5000 people have arrived in WA from NSW over the past week.
Contact tracing staff are following up with 87 arrivals from Sydney’s northern beaches.
WA’s chief health officer Andy Robertson has advised the government not to make further border changes.
But a return to a hard border, barring anyone from NSW without an exemption, could follow in coming days.
Hundreds of people have meanwhile endured long testing queues as travellers scramble to deal with new restrictions.
People who arrived in NSW over the past week were contacted on Thursday and told to get tested as soon as possible and self-quarantine until they returned a negative result.
But some were turned away without being tested because clinics were unable to cope with the added demand.
“It’s ridiculous. Don’t call us in an emergency to come in for testing and then you can’t test us,” one man told Sunrise.
Mr McGowan said almost 2000 people presented at clinics on Thursday, about four times the usual number.
“I know many people have been caught in long lines and have had to wait for long periods,” he said
“Everyone is doing the best they can to respond in these very difficult circumstances.”
‘Everyone is doing the best they can to respond in these very difficult circumstances.’
Clinics at Royal Perth Hospital, Fiona Stanley Hospital and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital will open from 8 am to 8 pm for the next three days, while Joondalup Hospital’s clinic will stay open til 10 pm on Friday.
Additional testing staff are also being marshalled across the state.
‘On the verge’
“There is no doubt NSW is on the verge of a serious outbreak and we must do whatever is required to keep us safe,” Mr McGowan said, adding that he understood how difficult it would be for families so near Christmas.
The government will continue to closely monitor the situation in NSW with seven flights scheduled to arrive from Sydney on Friday.
Just 10 days have passed since WA finally reopened its borders to NSW and Victoria, removing the 14-day quarantine requirement.