Western Australia is set to fully reopen its borders on 5 February 2022, after almost 2 years of a complete ban on international travel.
The premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, announced this new step at a press conference in Perth on Monday 13 December 2021.
This move comes after a successful vaccination program, which has resulted in 80% of Western Australia, aged 12 and over, now being double vaccinated. By the time the eased restrictions come into effect, WA is expected to hit its 90% target.
Mark McGowan commented that this is “the right time” for WA to reopen, and “the right way” to move forward. “This is a date that some in the community have been waiting to hear for a long time,” he said.
Who Will Be Allowed to Enter Western Australia?
Most international travelers who are double-vaccinated will be allowed to enter Western Australia from 5 February 2022. They must meet the current entry requirements and show proof that they are eligible to enter.
Standard entry policies still stand, and passengers will need to have an eligible visa to travel to WA. European citizens can still apply for the Australia eVisitor Visa, while other countries continue to be eligible for the Australia ETA.
Western Australia’s Successful Vaccine Scheme
More than 1.7 million people are now vaccinated against COVID-19 in Western Australia, making up 80% of over 12s.
In the announcement, McGowan said:
“West Australians have lived a normal life inside our Covid-free bubble, and nearly 2 million people have done the right thing and gotten vaccinated.”
Although a national target of 80% is deemed sufficient to reopen borders, McGowan has overruled this policy and kept borders closed until WA reaches 90% fully-vaccinated. He has held onto this target, despite criticism from the Australian Prime Minister.
If WA is unable to meet the 90% target, there will be further restrictions for those who are not double-vaccinated.
Booster shots advised
McGowan also pressed the importance of booster shots to anyone that is eligible. He commented that only 15% of Western Australians have received one, and that “it is essential to get your third dose” in light of the new Omicron variant.
The premier’s announcement follows a recent decision by the Australian government to reopen its borders from December 2021. A number of Australian states have already vaccinated over 90% of their population, spurring the motion to relax restrictions and allow international travel once again.
Borders to some states have already opened for eligible visa holders, and Western Australia will join them from February.
New COVID-19 Measures
Although border crossings will be relaxed for international travelers, there are still entry restrictions and COVID-19 measures in place.
There will be no quarantine restrictions for international visitors who are double-vaccinated, but they will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure, on arrival, and on day 6.
Overseas passengers who are not fully-vaccinated have to quarantine for 2 weeks in a state-run facility.
There will be a mandatory mask policy on public transport, taxis, in airports, on flights, and in hospitals and other facilities.
Large events will also require proof of vaccination for anyone over the age of 16 to enter. Other businesses are allowed to enforce their own vaccination requirements if they wish.
McGowan commented that more restrictions may be enforced, depending on health advice and the progression of the virus. He also stated that any regions that have not met an 80% fully-vaccinated target will face further restrictions.