WA border to stay closed beyond Feb 5.
West Australians face being kept indefinitely within their own state after Premier Mark McGowan went back on his government's plan to reopen the state's borders next month.
Mr McGowan announced the backflip during a late-night press conference on Thursday, saying WA's hard borders will remain in place indefinitely.
He claimed it would be "reckless and irresponsible" to proceed with the planned February 5 reopening given the surge in Omicron COVID-19 cases across the country.
In light of what has occurred across the country, having closely assessed the situation over east and listening to the latest health advice, we have reworked WA’s Safe Transition Plan to fit the environment that now confronts us. pic.twitter.com/o7Qb2vRrMU— Mark McGowan (@MarkMcGowanMP) January 20, 2022
The premier had promised to reopen the borders once the state's double-dose vaccination rate reached 90 per cent. It is currently at 89 per cent.
More compassionate exemptions will be granted from February 5, when the borders had been due to be brought down.
McGowan says the health system is "strong and ready" but he'd like to see WA's third dose rate to get as high as 90 per cent.
It currently sits at 26 per cent.
NSW expected to surpass 1000 virus deaths milestone today.
As NSW nears a grim milestone, a leading epidemiologist has warned the state's plateauing case numbers won't be reflected in its death toll for some time.
There are "promising" signs the state is past the worst of the outbreak, Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett told AAP.
While case numbers are unlikely to drop rapidly, as you would expect with a peak, Prof Bennett says they seem to have plateaued - with 30,825 positive results reported on Thursday.