The mandatory hotel quarantine period for returned interstate and international travellers has been slashed for the second time this week – now down to eight days – as the system struggles to cope with a sharp rise in guests testing positive to COVID.
Effective immediately, anyone in hotel quarantine that is double vaccinated and records a negative PCR test on days one and six will on day eight be permitted to leave and complete the remainder of their two-week isolation at a “suitable premises” – such as their own home.
They will be required to submit to two further PCR tests on days nine and 12 – to be conducted at their chosen isolation location by newly-established mobile testing teams – before being released back into the community on day 14.
The change comes after Premier Mark McGowan on Monday announced the hotel quarantine period would be trimmed from 14 days to 12 days, with the final two days completed at another suitable premises.
It also follows the elevation of the Northern Territory to an extreme risk jurisdiction on Thursday – meaning interstate travellers from every jurisdiction in Australia granted an exemption to enter WA must spend time in hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Speaking on Thursday, Mr McGowan said allowing returned travellers to complete their second week of isolation outside of hotel quarantine was a “more effective way of managing the burden” on the system until the Commonwealth Government’s purpose-built facility is complete.
“These changes are based on expert health advice considering people become positive with Omicron earlier than with other strains,” Mr McGowan said.
“Our health advice is clear that this adjustment is safe and will reduce the risk of Omicron spreading in hotel facilities as we can ensure safer room allocations are in place.”