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Coronavirus: Premier Mark McGowan to make call on NSW border on Monday

Mark McGowan says the latest test results out of Sydney are “positive news” but delayed making a decision on opening WA’s border to NSW until Monday.

The Premier was, however, much more confident that quarantine-free travel from Victoria would start as planned from Tuesday, December 8.

He welcomed reports that a Sydney woman with COVID did not catch the virus in the community, but said WA would wait for the results of a testing blitz before making a “final decision” about opening to NSW.

Mr McGowan said while he understood the uncertainty was disruptive and caused anxiety, he would take “every precaution possible” before opening.

“We will see what the testing regime in New South Wales throws up over the coming days. As we saw in Victoria, the virus can bubble away in communities without it being picked up. People can be asymptomatic. People can not go to see the doctor,” he said.

“So in coming days I’m sure New South Wales will do many thousands of tests that will provide us with the evidence we need to make a final decision on Monday.

“We have gone through this entire process, now 236 days, without a single case in Western Australia. Not a single case. We want to keep that record. We don’t want to take a risk.

“So therefore we’ll await and see the testing results today, tomorrow, the next day for New South Wales before making a final decision.”

WA Chief Health Officer Dr. Andy Robertson.
Camera IconWA Chief Health Officer Dr. Andy Robertson. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Mr McGowan said he did not believe the situation in NSW would “impede” the opening to Victoria on December 8, which would allow travellers from that State to no longer need to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“In relation to Victoria, we don’t think the NSW outbreak will impede the changes to the borders with Victoria at this point in time. If that were to change over the coming days, obviously we would let people know,” he said at Friday’s press conference.

The Premier said West Australians planning to travel to NSW or Victoria in coming days should “be aware that the situation can change”.

Earlier, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was “relieved” after confirming a Sydney woman diagnosed with COVID did not catch the virus in the community.

The Minto woman was diagnosed with coronavirus on Wednesday night, causing fears the case would break a 26-day streak of no community transmission in NSW.

Mr Hazzard said on Friday it appeared the source of the woman’s infection came “from overseas.”

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
Camera IconNSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard. Credit: methode/methode

“The virus is not part of our locally transmitted viruses,” he said.

“We have more work to do to work out where it has come from, but highly likely it came from possibly the hotel or possibly aircrew that of course can stay overnight for a few days, before they turn around and go back overseas.”

“It is a massive relief, massive relief my point of view as Health Minister. But we still have work to do, we still have work to determine which aircrew or person from overseas, possibly in the hotel, managed to transmit it.

“Happy days, happy days indeed.”

The woman worked as a member of the housekeeping staff at the Ibis and Novotel hotels in Darling Harbour between November 27 and 30. Returned overseas travellers are currently being quarantined by police at the Novotel.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed on Friday the sunshine state’s borders would remain open but warned she is watching NSW closely.

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