Western Australia border rules tightened as Northern Territory high at high risk

WA tightened border restrictions with the Northern Territory with just a few hours’ notice.

The Northern Territory will be elevated to a “high risk” jurisdiction starting at 12:01 am Sunday morning, an upgrade to existing “medium risk” rules.

The decision comes after the NT registered 594 cases today.

In the “high risk” settings, anyone entering NT will need to self-quarantine for 14 days, be double-dose vaccinated against COVID-19 (if eligible), and be tested for COVID-19 in 24 hours after arrival and days five and 13.

These rules are tougher than the “medium risk” restrictions and require all people sharing premises with the incoming traveler to also be quarantined for 14 days.

The list of travelers who will be able to obtain an exemption to travel has also been reduced. It is limited to certain government officials, military personnel, and those approved by the State Emergency Coordinator.

This includes compassionate exemptions.

“The Northern Territory is unfortunately now experiencing a significant spike in cases, much like we’ve seen recently in other parts of the country,” Acting Prime Minister Roger Cook said.

Camera iconActing Prime Minister Roger Cook has said tightening the border will help WA in its efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay. Credit: Iain Gillespie/West Australian

“In light of the escalating situation, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has now recommended that the Northern Territory be upgraded to ‘high risk’ to protect Western Australia.

“This extra layer of protection will help WA in its efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay as we increase our vaccination rates, including third doses and vaccinations for 5-11 starting Monday.”

The rest of the country falls into the highest possible risk category, “tail risk”.

This category is only very narrow in scope for compassionate exemptions.

Martin E. Berry