WA Premier wants vaccine before Bali travel resumes

Western Australia’s hard border could return if the commonwealth does “something rash” by opening unsafe travel bubbles, as the Premier warned he does not see travel to Bali resuming until there is a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We won’t hesitate to make (WA’s border arrangements) tougher if the health circumstances indicate we need to,” Premier Mark McGowan told reporters on Tuesday.

“If the commonwealth puts in place something rash, if they were to open up the travel bubble with a country that has COVID-19, we’d be prepared to put the hard border back in place.”

The Premier previously said the “biggest threat” to Australia was the importation of the virus from overseas and he made similar comments on Channel 7’s Flashpoint on Monday night.

“I’m very, very careful about the international borders,” Mr McGowan said.

“I don’t want us to open international borders until we are very, very sure.

“I just say to the commonwealth government, do not open up the international borders until such time that it’s safe, and that would mean a vaccine.

“I just can’t see Bali being an option until there’s a vaccine.”

WA will replace its hard border with a “controlled interstate border” from November 14, but travellers from Victoria and NSW will still need to quarantine.

Under the changes, quarantine-free travel will be allowed from the very low risk jurisdictions of Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT.

It has been almost seven months since WA had any community transmission of the virus.

There were no new cases of COVID-19 in WA overnight, leaving the state’s total at 770.

WA Health is monitoring 23 active cases in hotel quarantine, including four from the Al Messilah livestock carrier, which remains berthed at Fremantle Port.

The Al Messilah and the Key Integrity ships are scheduled to clear quarantine on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority says it has brought a damaged vessel into Geraldton Port in WA’s Mid West.

The Marshall Islands flagged livestock carrier MV Barkly Pearl sustained damage to its hull and was about 120km north of Geraldton when AMSA became involved.

“We held concerns about the integrity of the vessel and the potential for environmental issues, and issued a direction for the vessel to make its way to safety in the Port of Geraldton,” AMSA said.

“We are currently working with WA authorities to ensure that the vessel arrives safely.

“This includes managing any COVID risks on arrival in line with state protocols.”

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