West Australians who travelled to Victoria over the Christmas holidays will be allowed to return home on compassionate grounds.

“In light of the outbreak of Victoria will strengthen its border controls to reduce the risk of the virus getting into our community,” Mr Cook said.

“What we feared happened occurred, it appeared the virus has jumped the border to Victoria. Clearly, we are dealing with an unpredictable situation that is like to get worse before it gets better.”

Mr Cook acknowledged the pain the hard border would cause families planning to reunite in the new year but added the virus “does not respect celebrations”.

There are eight flights scheduled to land at Perth Airport from Melbourne on Thursday and another eight on Friday, carrying a total of approximately 3000 passengers.

Victoria recorded five further cases of COVID-19 on Thursday in addition to three women who tested positive on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to eight.

The new cases are among more than 70 close contacts of the original three in the Melbourne areas of Hallam, Mitcham, and Mentone, which stretch into parts of regional Victoria.

More to come.

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