Questions have been raised about why Mark McGowan chose to delay opening Western Australia’s borders.
The WA Premier on Thursday sensationally axed his vow to reopen his state to the rest of the country on February 5, with no date now set for free travel to resume.
Mr McGowan credited the Covid situations happening on the east coast of Australia for his reasoning, while claiming the decision was backed by the Australian Medical Association.
However, there appear to be inconsistencies with his reasons behind the move which has been widely criticised by many around the country.
WA Premier Mark McGowan on Thursday sensationally axed his vow to reopen his state to the rest of the country on February 5, with no date now set for free travel to resume
The AMA were forced to reveal they did not support the decision after Mr McGowan said it was ‘endorsed’ by the organisation.
AMA WA president Mark Duncan-Smith has since called on the premier to urgently set a date for when the borders would finally open up.
‘AMA WA does not believe that an open-ended delay is good for any individuals or the psychological wellbeing of our society,’ he told The West Australian.
‘We call on the Government to set a date so that there can be a degree of certainty within this uncertainty and so that people at least have a hope and a direction.’
He said the ‘surprise’ decision would leave the community divided and said the government should instead impose harsher restrictions.
Mr McGowan credited the Covid situations happening on the east coast of Australia for his reasoning, while claiming the decision was backed by the Australian Medical Association (pictured in Perth)
‘Many of our front-line members are relieved, including our GPs, that more time will be available to prepare. Many other of our members are bitterly disappointed and angry about the decision, with their focus on being able to rejoin and be with their loved ones,’ Mr Duncan-Smith said.
The decision to hold off reopening was also slammed by the Australian president of the Australian Medical Association Dr Omar Khorshid.
‘Gutted … seems Mark McGowan is a one-trick pony when it comes to Covid-19,’ he said on Twitter.
‘This decision should be acknowledged as a failure by the WA government to prepare and a broken promise.’
Dr Khorshid said WA could not stick its head in the sand, with an outbreak in the state inevitable.
Another reason Mr McGowan credited for the border opening delay was the amount of deaths being recorded in neighbouring South Australia.
‘South Australia had 11 people die today, back when they opened they were COVID-free like us, so that’s the sort of thing we’re doing our best to avoid,’ he said.
But SA Premier Steven Marshall said the 11 deaths announced on Thursday were possibly a backlog.
The state’s Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said it was possible the ‘unusually high number’ of deaths had been accumulated over several days.
‘There is no urgent reporting requirement from residential aged-care facilities into SA Health related to COVID, and so sometimes there’s a bit of a catch up,’ Mr Marshall said.
WA Premier claimed hospitals were struggling to cope with Covid patients but Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly on Wednesday saying hospitals were in fact ‘coping’ amid the outbreak (pictured resident in Perth)
The WA premier also claimed hospitals around the country were struggling to cope with the demands of patients infected with Covid.
This is despite Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly on Wednesday saying hospitals were in fact ‘coping’ amid the outbreak.
‘These are levels of coping that have been agreed with the States and Territories in our common operating picture through the National Cabinet, and so in terms of hospitalisations right across the country, that’s still green, in a green-orange-red traffic light system,’ Professor Kelly said.
‘In terms of intensive care, there is pressure, so several States are showing amber and are taking action appropriately for that, and Victoria has been in that higher level of red for the last couple of weeks.’
Mr Kelly added Victoria was still only at 33 per cent capacity in ICU.
Western Australia has recorded seven new local Covid-19 cases despite slamming its border shut to the rest of Australia (pictured, Cottesloe Beach, WA)
Mr McGowan also wrongly said the first case of the Omicron strain was detected in Australia on December 8.
‘Unfortunately, the world changed in December; Omicron arrived,’ he said.
‘We can’t just shut our eyes and hope that it is different.’
NSW Health announced the new strain had been detected in two returning travellers on November 27.
The Premier’s office told The West he had been given the wrong information.
Following his border announcement, Mr McGowan said a strict mask mandate will also now go into effect for Australia Day requiring residents to wear face coverings both indoors and outside unless eating and drinking.
The state will instead open in stages with a expanded list of exemption criteria (pictured)
The premier initially said the state would reopen its border when the vaccination rate hits 90 per cent. WA is now at 89 per cent.
But the state Labor government now say they they won’t be relying on double-dose vaccination targets any more.
Instead, the take-up of booster shots will determine when the state finally throws its doors open, with 70 per cent triple-vaxxed now the new target.
But this could take several months with only 27 per cent of the state’s residents having received a booster vaccination.
‘When we made the decision in December to open February 5, we said we would open if there was not an emergency and a catastrophe,’ Mr McGowan said.
‘In eastern states, we have now both an emergency and a catastrophe.’
ALL THE CHANGES TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S REOPENING PLAN:
Premier Mark McGowan announced the hard border currently in place in WA would remain past the original reopening date scheduled for February 5.
The government has instead opted to reopen the state in stages with quarantine restrictions to remain indefinitely.
Instead, relaxed travel exemptions will be enforced and will allow the following groups to enter the state:
– Returning residents with strong recent connections with WA
– Returning residents with family connections in WA
– Compassionate reasons like funerals, palliative care or terminal illness
– People entering for urgent or essential medical treatment
– People entering WA for national or state security reasons
– People with specialist skills
– Commonwealth and state officials, members of parliament, and diplomats
– Other extraordinary circumstances that have been approved by the Chief Health Officer or Police Commissioner
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk