New Zealanders will be allowed to travel to Western Australia without being quarantined from the end of the month.
Prime Minister Mark McGowan has confirmed that starting at 12:01 a.m. on April 19, New Zealand will be part of WA’s controlled border regime.
It will be classified as a “very low risk” jurisdiction, meaning travelers will not be required to quarantine upon arrival.
They will need to complete a G2G travel pass and undergo health checks at the airport.
WA’s involvement in the travel bubble with New Zealand, which also begins on April 19, had been questioned given its position as a tough border for the past 12 months.
“This is an encouraging step forward for Western Australia and the nation,” McGowan said Friday.
“It shows the flexibility and versatility of WA’s controlled border regime to maintain Western Australia’s strength.”
New Zealand had another coronavirus infection in a hotel quarantine worker this week, just days after announcing it would open its border to Australians. There are so far no community cases resulting from the infection of the worker.
Meanwhile, WA will also move Queensland – the only state or territory currently affected by restrictions – to the very low risk category from the same date.
People currently in quarantine will be allowed to return to the community.
In another key change, WA will now require other jurisdictions to spend only 14 days without a community case before border restrictions are lifted.
Previously, they had to go 28 days without community cases.
WA director of health Andy Robertson said that starting on Friday, AstraZeneca vaccines will only be given to people over the age of 50.
This came after Prime Minister Scott Morrison received recommendations from Australia’s Immunization Technical Advisory Group on Thursday evening.
ATAGI has recommended that Pfizer vaccine be ‘preferred’ over AstraZeneca in people under 50, who are at a very rare risk of developing blood clots.
“People under the age of 50 who are booked to receive their AstraZeneca vaccine will have their appointment canceled,” said Dr Robertson.
People in immunization program cohorts 1a and 1b – including health workers – who are under 50 and have already received their first AstraZeneca vaccine, should “not be alarmed” and proceed with their second vaccine.
“You shouldn’t cancel your second vaccination booking,” said Dr Robertson.