Western Australia is now closed to travellers from both NSW and Victoria with the state quick to impose tough restrictions in response to COVID-19 clusters in Sydney and Melbourne.
The hard border with Victoria came into effect from New Year’s Day with Acting Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook admitting it was “terrible timing”.
The government has revised Victoria’s status to one of medium risk, effectively barring travel to WA.
Only people granted exemptions will be allowed to enter, while West Australians returning home will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
Any Victorians who arrived in WA on or after December 21 will also need to self-isolate for 14 days from when they first entered the state.
That will apply to about 16,000 people, although some may already have left after Christmas celebrations.
Those still in WA will have to take a coronavirus test on day 11 or at any time if they develop symptoms.
The same rules are already in place in regard to NSW.
Mr Cook said the government recognised the arrangements were not perfect and people would be disrupted.
But he said the government had little choice but to move swiftly.
“It’s based on the advice from the chief health officer. In this case, you’ve seen a situation where there’s the outbreak but also the potential for additional cases,” Mr Cook said.
“So we’re acting out of an abundance of caution and with the sole intent of keeping Western Australians safe.”
The acting premier said the situation in Victoria and NSW remained unpredictable and was likely to get worse before it improved.
“The timing is terrible but COVID-19 doesn’t respect dates,” he said.