Relief as WA reopens to NSW, Victoria

WA Premier Mark McGowan says his state will reopen its borders to NSW and Victoria from December 8.
WA Premier Mark McGowan says his state will reopen its borders to NSW and Victoria from December 8.

The long wait will soon be over for many West Australians separated from their loved ones, with the state set to reopen its borders to NSW and Victoria from December 8.

Tuesday's announcement means travellers from those states will no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days, having endured almost nine months of restrictions.

WA has now removed border controls for all states and territories besides South Australia, which continues to grapple with a COVID-19 outbreak.

Travellers from NSW and Victoria will still be required to undergo health screening and a temperature check at the airport, complete a G2G pass outlining recent travel and take a COVID test if necessary.

"I'd like to acknowledge and thank everyone for their patience and understanding," Premier Mark McGowan told reporters.

"It's been a long wait.

"As a country, I'm so relieved we've gotten to this point. It's a credit to all Australians that we are nearly at the point of eliminating the virus in the community."

Victoria has already reached WA's criteria of 28 days without community transmission to qualify for eased border rules, while NSW has now gone 24 days without a locally-acquired infection.

Travel from SA remains prohibited unless arrivals meet strict exemption criteria and isolate for 14 days.

People driving across the Nullarbor from the east coast will also be treated as arriving from SA.

Mr McGowan said the border controls with SA would not change until at least December 11 and would be reviewed next week.

The premier said he was hopeful of soon reuniting with his NSW-based parents.

"The last nine months have not been easy," he said.

"I know the border arrangements have put pressure on families and have been hard to comprehend at times.

"As premier of the state, I never thought I would bring in state border controls. It definitely has been an extraordinary year."

Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA chief executive Chris Rodwell said the decision was an early Christmas present for local businesses.

He urged the government to strengthen its testing and tracing capacity to ensure the border controls did not need to be reinstated.

"It's not ideal that we'd need be switching the border on and off, because those businesses need some clarity around how to manage their operations and how to make their investments moving into the future," he said.

Australian Medical Association WA president Andrew Miller called for an increased focus on sewage testing, QR code tracing and mask supplies.

"People in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra are being a lot more careful about this pandemic and we have to learn from them, or else we will find ourselves back in lockdown," Dr Miller said.

Also on Tuesday, Mr McGowan announced places of worship will be exempt from the two square metre rule and able to operate at 60 per cent capacity, effective immediately.

WA recorded three new COVID cases overnight, all returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

Australian Associated Press