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WA Premier reveals international arrivals cap will double but NSW and Victorian travellers will remain blocked

Once Western Australian reaches 70 per cent double dose vaccination against Covid-19 it will double its international arrivals cap, but travellers from the “extreme risk” states of NSW and Victoria will remain blocked.

Premier Mark McGowan said while the international cap was currently at 265 Australians per week, it would increase to about 530 when the vaccination milestone was achieved.

But he warned that would also put more pressure on the hotel quarantine system.

Almost 80 per cent of people over the age of 12 in WA have had their first dose, while more than 60 per cent have had their second jab.

Mr McGowan stressed that overseas travellers would not be able to use Sydney as a gateway into WA.

“We can’t have a situation whereby people leave WA, go to NSW, fly overseas, have a holiday overseas, come back into NSW and then demand to come home when they are a risk to the community,” he told reporters on Monday.

mcgowan presser
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan is refusing to budge on his border stance. Colin Murty/The Australian Credit: News Corp Australia

“If you leave NSW or Victoria to go overseas, you’re probably just as safe overseas as you are in NSW or Victoria. Our situation is very different.

“Really, it’s a matter of a few months. We’re heading towards the end of this, we’re just going to remain safe whilst we get there.”

Asked whether the G2G Pass system could be used to ensure people do not border hop and skip quarantine, Mr McGowan said authorities were “analysing” the situation.

Mr McGowan insisted the state border would be opened “in a controlled way” as the vaccination rate climbed to ensure a “very soft landing” out of the pandemic.

In a bid to boost vaccinations, the state government will roll out a “super vax weekend” with pop-up clinics around the state, including at Bunnings stores and the Claremont Showgrounds which is hosting the Diwali festival.

Meanwhile, one man who travelled from Los Angeles to Sydney has begged the Premier to let him return to WA to see his dying mother.

Ethan Carter said he had not seen his mother in two years.

“I’m really scared and emotional because I really want to see my mum,” Mr Carter told reporters at Sydney Airport.

“The doctor said that she hasn’t got long … I can’t see her today, obviously — that’s not the law — but I’ve got to do what I can.

“She’s been in permanent care for a few years and it’s been so long since I’ve seen her, and I love her heaps and I just want to get back there.”

Mr Carter urged the Premier to “think of the people that are suffering” mentally to see their family.

“We know we’ve got to protect lives, but you’ve got to bring families together again — you have to,” Mr Carter said.

“Everybody needs to be together, it’s so important.

“We respect that you’re trying to be safe but everyone needs to be together.”

Police commissioner and Covid-19 vaccine commander Chris Dawson said he was aware of Mr Carter’s situation.

“We’ll make an assessment if he makes an application,” Mr Dawson said.

“I’ve spoken to my team already today and they’ll be examining that, should he make any application.”

Mr Dawson said thousands of people had already returned to WA under extreme and tragic situations while the strict border measures have been in place.

The Premier said the situation was “very sad and very difficult.”

“We’ve seen much of this over the course of the last two years,” he said.

“The police and the chief health officer will analyse his case if he makes an application so that a decision can be made.”

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