Western Australians could be facing tighter restrictions when borders open, with the premier quick to correct the state’s vaccine commander in revealing when the strict closures will come to an end.
The state’s vaccine commander Chris Dawson on Thursday said Western Australia’s border was likely to come down “sometime in January”.
But Premier Mark McGowan was more circumspect, saying it would be “late January or early February”.
“When we set it, we want people to be able to plan on that, and airlines to be able to plan, and international airlines to be able to plan, and families to be able to plan,” he said.
Mr McGowan has remained clear he will set a reopening date once the state hits its vaccination target of 80 per cent and aim to open based on 90 per cent coverage.
Mr Dawson revealed people in WA will have to wear masks and face other restrictions when the borders eventually come down.
He said he believed the state will struggle to live with Covid-19 after almost two years of avoiding the virus completely.
“The paradigm shift is going to be when the virus does come here, and it will,” Mr Dawson said.
“Based on chief health officer Dr Andy Robertson‘s advice, we may have to re-implement the wearing of masks.”
Mr Dawson said he does not like wearing a mask but believes they will be necessary.
“It [wearing masks] is to mitigate the spread of the disease. That will be a big step for the community to try to get their heads around.”
Western Australia this week hit 85 per cent of the population over the age of 12 having received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.