An increase in cases in the NT prompted a tightening of border restrictions after the territory recorded 594 infections on Monday, with Western Australia upgrading the state to an ‘extreme risk’ jurisdiction .
The NT was the only state or territory not yet set to extreme, being only ‘high risk’, meaning the entire country is now banned except for a few exceptions.
The ban means residents of all other states and territories in Australia have been stopped from visiting Western Australia, even to visit dying family members.
The new rules will came into effect at 12.01am last night, with only government officials, defence force personnel and diplomats allowed to travel into the state.
An exemption for travel could be granted under ‘specialist or extraordinary circumstances’ if approved by the state’s police commissioner or chief health officer.
Travellers with an exemption must be vaccinated and complete 14 days of quarantine in a state-run facility at their own expense.
An additional two days of quarantine will be required at a ‘suitable premises’ with Covid testing conducted within 24 hours of arrival and on days five and 13 of isolation.
The NT reported 352 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday bringing the number of active cases in the territory to 3,000.
There are 28 people hospitalised with Covid-19 and one patient admitted to the intensive care unit.
Premier McGowan said a growing number of interstate travellers were in hotel quarantine alongside overseas arrivals.
‘We know the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly around much of the country and unfortunately the Northern Territory is now too seeing an accelerating caseload in the community,’ he said.
‘Our controlled border remains a vital tool to protect Western Australia as we work to push our vaccination rates as high as possible towards February 5, including third doses and vaccinations for five to 11-year-olds.’
The premier urged all WA residents in the Northern Territory with an approved G2G Pass to return home immediately otherwise they would be denied entry.
Tighter border controls come as the premier warned life for the unvaccinated population is about to get ‘very difficult’.
In the lead up to the state re-opening on February 5, Mr McGowan said residents who were unvaccinated wouldn’t be able to enjoy the same freedoms as their inoculated counterparts.
Mr McGowan said the state successfully navigated through a Delta cluster and its two latest Omicron outbreaks, but said the virus would continue to find its way into WA.
‘With the sheer number of cases in the rest of the country right now, it is placing pressure on supply chains across a number of industries,’ he said on Monday.
As the state moves closer to 90 per cent vaccination, Mr McGowan said the eastern states were proof of what would happen if people continue to reject the jab.
‘Over east, the intensive care units are filled with the unvaccinated… even though that’s a tiny proportion of the population, they are hugely over-represented,’ he said.
‘[The unvaccinated] will be able to work in some limited industries, they’ll be able to go to supermarkets and get essential supplies and the like.
‘But a lot of the things we take for granted and the things we enjoy, they won’t be able to do and that’s because we want to protect them and save their lives, and we want to protect other people from their transmissibility.’
Source: Thanks msn.com