Western Australia’s swift new Queensland border restrictions have caused frustration and despair at Perth Airport as travellers were met with a COVID-19 test before being ordered straight into self-quarantine.
- WA’s hard border with Queensland is being reinstated
- It followed a case of the mutant UK strain of the virus in Queensland
- Many travellers at Perth Airport were caught off guard by the changes
Premier Mark McGowan today announced WA’s hard border with Queensland would be reinstated from midnight in a bid to “protect all Western Australians”.
It came after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel in Brisbane tested positive on Thursday to the mutant UK strain of the virus, but had already spent five days in the community post-infection.
In response, Greater Brisbane has been sent into a three-day lockdown in an attempt to minimise any spread of the virus.
In WA, Queensland travellers who arrived after January 2 have been ordered to self-quarantine for a fortnight from their arrival and take a COVID-19 test by Tuesday.
Some learn of border changes mid-air
The new border arrangements came as a shock to around 1,400 people flying into Perth from Queensland on Friday, all of whom required a COVID-19 test at the airport before being given orders to isolate themselves for a fortnight.
For some, the arrangements were announced mid-air and caused scenes of frustration at the airport.
The decision devastated Georgia Turner, who arrived in Perth after a visit to the Sunshine Coast to introduce her baby daughter to her grandparents.
“Shocking. Mark McGowan just does this. It’s just not fair, it’s really not fair,” she said.
Ms Turner said she would be happy to isolate until she received a negative test result, but was unhappy about the two-week quarantine.
“This is just really harsh on families.”
‘It’s not easy on the family’
FIFO worker Ben Geurts said it would be difficult being away from his family in Queensland for an extended period.
“It’s not ideal. I just flew in hoping to go back to work and now I have to do a 14-day quarantine,” he said.
“It’s not easy on the family.
“Everyone is not too happy about it.”
All of Friday’s arrivals from Queensland have to take a second COVID-19 test on day 11.
Kate O’Sullivan, 31, has been forced into self-quarantine after returning to Perth on Thursday after visiting her partner in Brisbane.
Ms O’Sullivan immediately followed orders both to isolate and get a COVID-19 test and while she respects the order, the quarantine aspect will come at a cost.
“I am a person who works a casual job,” she said.
“I just spent the morning cancelling all my shifts for the next two weeks.”
Opposition supports border measures
Rex Codd was waiting at Perth Airport for his daughter, who he had not seen for seven months, but she ended up grabbing the next available flight back to Brisbane.
“I always think Mark McGowan is doing the right thing, WA has been the safest place in the world,” he said.
“But it just so happens that my daughter [arrived] here today and he’s closed it [the border].”
WA’s Opposition leader Zak Kirkup said he “fully” supported the Government’s swift border measures with Queensland even though it locked his own parents out of the state.
“This is something that affects me a great deal personally, I know it affects thousands of families in Western Australia,” Mr Kirkup said.
“More than anything else, what we want to do is make sure we keep Western Australians safe.”