“I don’t know if we’ll have a final answer today because I don’t know what the testing regime in NSW will throw up. We’ll just wait and see what comes of it”
WA’s state emergency management committee was set to meet at midday on Thursday.
Holiday plans involving Australians in WA and NSW are teetering on the edge of cancellation as Mr McGowan gave advice that people should be prepared for the prospect of a hard border.
“I can’t give firm advice on at this point in time,” he said. “But there is a prospect. You just need to be aware if you’re travelling that kind of arrangement might come into being.”
Mr McGowan said WA would do what it had to in order to protect the state.
“Today marks 250 days without a single community case, no other state in Australia and virtually nowhere else in the world can say that,” he said.
“It has paid dividends in terms of lives and it has paid dividends in terms of jobs.”
Labor force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released today showed there were 10,600 more people employed in November in WA than in March, prior to the pandemic sending jobs figures spiralling, when an estimated 1,368,900 people were in work.
The unemployment rate is down to 6.4 per cent from the last month but is still a full percentage point higher than in March.
The hard border to NSW and Victoria only came down last week.
Five community cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Sydney over the past 24 hours – including four from the northern beaches and an airport shuttle driver from the city’s south.
Genomic testing is under way to see if the cases are linked.
Several restaurants and community venues have been singled out by NSW Health as potential transmission hot-spots in the suburbs of Avalon and Palm Beach.
The cases are the first instances of community transmission in NSW since December 3.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said her state was reviewing the accommodation arrangements being used by airlines for staff.
“At the moment the priority is for us to identify the primary source of the infections that have been identified in the northern beaches in particular,” she said.
“We’re encouraging everybody who lives on the northern beaches with the mildest of symptoms to come forward and get testing,” she said.
“We have seen an increase in testing overnight, but we really want to get on top of this. we don’t want this to concern us leading into the last few days before Christmas.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said NSW was still the gold standard for dealing with COVID-19.
He said that Mr McGowan was a “cautious guy” when it came to borders but would leave decisions involving the state to him.
“He’ll make his decisions based on the advice of things that are available to him,” Mr Morrison said.
“But I know there are lots of people looking to reunite with their West Australian families.”
In WA international aircrew stopping in Perth must already quarantine and are transported directly from the airport to The Holiday Inn.
The hotel is closed to the general public.
Crews are only permitted to leave their hotel room to travel directly back to the airport for an outgoing flight and must wear a mask when transiting through a crowded place.
According to WA’s flight crew directions, crew members are not required to be tested for COVID-19.
The required trigger point for WA to have quarantine-free travel with another state is 28 days without a locally acquired case.
WA is currently open to quarantine-free travel with all states and territories except South Australia, which, pending no new local cases, will change on Christmas Day.
A state is considered ‘low risk’ by WA if it has less than five new community cases per day on a five-day and 14-day rolling average.
Travellers coming from low risk states must self-quarantine for a fortnight and have a COVID-19 test on day 11 of their isolation.
Peter de Kruijff is a journalist with WAtoday.