After the best part of two years, Australia’s largest state Western Australia will finally relax its “hard border” stance and reopen to fully vaccinated travellers on 3rd March.
This comes as the premier, Mark McGowan, admits that isolating the state from the world has become “ineffective” in combating Covid-19 in the face of an increasing local outbreak, with a record 194 new local cases reported last Friday.
The End of the Hard Border
Western Australia (WA) planned for an earlier opening via an easing of entry requirements from 5th February, but this was delayed on 20th January due to the threatening emergence of the Omicron variant in neighbouring jurisdictions and the state’s relatively low booster rate.
This long-awaited reopening comes after WA imposed even stricter border restrictions than the rest of Australia. The rest of the country reopened on 21st February to allow fully vaccinated visitors into the country, providing euphoric scenes as family members and friends reunited after years apart.
A Qantas flight, a QF653 from Sydney to Perth, will be the first domestic flight to arrive in Western Australia’s capital, Perth. Approximately a quarter of arrivals are due to travel in from overseas, arriving on flights from Dubai, Singapore, Auckland, Doha and Kuala Lumpur, touching down at 12:05 am local time.
Restrictions still remain
The reopening of WA does come with precautions echoed by the majority of countries around the world and aligned with the rest of Australia. Unvaccinated travellers, including those from interstate, will not be permitted to enter WA.
And while quarantine is no longer required, travellers who wish to fly to WA will still be required to complete a G2G border pass before entry and take a rapid antigen test within 12 hours of arrival.
Travellers from outside Australia must meet Commonwealth Government requirements and be fully vaccinated under such requirements (if eligible) along with completing a G2G border pass before entry and taking a rapid antigen test.
In a separate statement to the media, WA explained their current plan for antigen tests, which will be subject to an ongoing review after two weeks.
The State Government is currently providing all interstate and international arrivals with two Rapid Antigen Tests so they can self-administer at home and from March 3, one test will be provided to each arrival to meet the new interim controls.
The tests will be distributed to travellers with no extra cost.
What does this long-awaited reopening mean to you? Let us know in the comments below!