Western Australia has reintroduced an emergency mask mandate to affect thousands of residents after the state recorded just five new Covid cases.
Masks will be made mandatory in all indoor public settings in Perth and the surrounding Peel region from 6pm on Sunday.
The mandate will not apply to the home, for people doing vigorous indoor exercise, or children under 12.
The decision came as Mark McGowan announced three new cases in addition to the two earlier-announced cases, bringing the state’s daily tally to five.
In the last seven days, the state has recorded 18 new infections, with the premier warning residents needed to ‘assume it was spreading’.
WA Premier Mark McGowan has announced mask-wearing will be mandatory in all public indoor settings across Perth and the Peel region from 6pm on Sunday
‘It’s clear the number of cases of the Omicron variant is growing, and so is the risk to the community,’ Mr McGowan said, announcing the new mandate over Twitter on Sunday.
‘We know that masks have a significant impact in helping stop the spread of this virus. It’s important we all do our bit to help limit the spread.’
Two of the three new cases are linked to the U Natural Spa Therapy business in Applecross, which has already been listed as an exposure site.
Anyone who visited the wellness centre between January 7th to January 13 is urged to get tested immediately and isolate until receiving negative results.
The three new cases will be included in Monday’s Covid figures.
As the state’s Omicron cases slowly rise, Mr McGowan urged Western Australians to be vigilant.
‘What we know from the Omicron experience over east is that you can be carrying the virus with you, and have no symptoms,’ he Tweeted on Sunday.
‘Do not hesitate, do not assume you are fine because you have no symptoms.
‘You must go get tested.’
Premier Mark McGowan will introduce a number of controversial restrictions for the unvaccinated from January 31 in Western Australia
Premier McGowan told reporters ‘life will change significantly’ for the unvaccinated, who need to be ‘protected from themselves’ (pictured, patrons at a pub in Perth)
Meanwhile, Western Australians not vaccinated against Covid will be banned from nearly every activity outside the home from January 31.
Announcing the controversial restrictions earlier this week, Mr McGowan confirmed the new rules could be in place ‘for years’ as he continues his ardent ‘Covid-zero’ stance.
Un-jabbed adults had already been banned from dining in at cafes, pubs and restaurants, with vaccine passports checked at the door.
But from the end of the month, they’ll also be banned from visiting loved ones in hospital, going into a bottle shop or taking their kid to a play centre.
Speaking on Thursday night, Mr McGowan warned ‘life will change significantly’ for the unvaccinated, who need to be ‘protected from themselves.’
The premier later confirmed the unvaccinated will be barred from museums, Perth Zoo, gyms, and the entire Crown Casino complex.
From January 31, proof of vaccination will be required to visit public and private hospitals, aged care facilities, all hospitality venues including restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, clubs, nightclubs, and dine-in fast food.
From January 31, proof of Covid vaccinations will be required at the likes cafes, (pictured) pubs, restaurants, the casino and the zoo
Mr McGowan also had a message for those who are unvaccinated in his state – get jabbed now.
‘These will be the broadest proof of vaccination requirements in the nation, and they will not be removed any time soon,’ he said.
‘We know that those in hospitals around the country are mainly unvaccinated people.
‘If you don’t get vaccinated, the message is clear – we will not let you put others at risk.’
Almost 95 per cent of Western Australian residents have had one dose of the Covid vaccine, while 87 per cent have had both doses.
The rest of Australia is starting to open up after nearly two years of lockdowns, not to mention being shut off from the rest of the world.
New restrictions for the unvaccinated in Western Australia from January 31:
- Unvaccinated West Australians will soon be barred from a huge number of locations, including hospitals, gyms, cafes, play centres and bottle shops
- Premier Mark McGowan stated the restrictions could be in place ‘for years’
- Unvaccinated will also be banned from museums, pubs, nightclubs, the zoo and the entire Crown Casino complex
- Changes will be implemented from January 31, with Mr McGowan also having a message for those who have avoided getting jabbed – ‘do so now’
However, WA also made another drastic move earlier this week by banning anyone from any state and territory coming into his state, dubbing the rest of the nation an ‘extreme Covid risk’.
Even visits to see dying family members are not allowed.
On Wednesday, Mr McGowan raised the Northern Territory to ‘extreme risk’, the highest level of Covid warning that bans all arrivals even for compassionate reasons.
The NT was the only state or territory not yet set to extreme, being only ‘high risk’ before, meaning the entire country is now banned except for a few exceptions.
An increase in cases in the NT prompted a tightening of border restrictions after the territory recorded 594 infections on Monday.
Western Australia has now deemed all states and territories as an ‘extreme risk’ shutting out all of the country (pictured, a map indication WAs Covid-19 classification requirements)
The new rules came into effect at 12.01am on Thursday, 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.