Coronavirus WA: Intrastate borders to come down on Friday with exception of the Kimberley for WA Day long weekend

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Josh ZimmermanThe West Australian
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VideoWA has recorded four new COVID-19 cases as WA Premier Mark McGowan announced Western Australians will be able to travel freely anywhere in the State, besides the Kimberley and biosecurity zones, in time for the long weekend.

Western Australians will be able to travel freely anywhere in the state besides the Kimberley in time for the WA Day long weekend, Premier Mark McGowan revealed this afternoon.

From Friday, regional borders cutting Perth off from Geraldton and Kalgoorlie will be removed.

The Kimberley however, as well as 274 Aboriginal communities, will remain cut off from the rest of WA.

The McGowan Government has made an application to the Commonwealth to lift its biosecurity zone, the first step needed in allowing travel to the Kimberley to resume.

Premier Mark McGowan said he expected that would occur around June 5, with travel to parts of Kimberley – including Broome – to resume shortly thereafter.

He said remote parts of the Kimberley, including aboriginal communities, were likely to remain off limits longer.

Mr McGowan encouraged West Australians to make the most of the decision by planning trips within the state.

“This is a golden opportunity for many people to experience and enjoy WA,” he said.

“We will be promoting our state and making sure that people get out there and have holidays around our state.”

The Premier said he expected to make further announcements around the easing of restrictions – including increasing the limits on patrons at pubs, cafes and restaurants and the re-opening of beauty salons – later this week.

“We will announce Phase 3 later this week,” he said.

“I do think economically, and in a health sense, Australia and WA is leading the world.”

But he said it was unlikely those changes would come into effect in time for the long weekend and again reiterated it would be “months” before the hard border with the eastern states was removed.

“We’ll bring it down when it is appropriate and when they have low levels of infection over east,” he said.

The decision on intrastate borders comes as Health Minister Roger Cook revealed a family of four Victorians had been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the state’s total case numbers to 564.

The family flew in to Perth from Doha on May 17 and have been quarantining in a Perth hotel since then.

“This highlights the reason we have imposed mandatory hotel quarantine for all returned travellers,” Mr Cook said.

The new cases mean there are now six actives cases in WA.

The border changes come into effect at 11.59pm on Thursday night, meaning families will be permitted to escape anywhere in the state besides the Kimberley from Friday.

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