WA posts record 115 local Omicron cases



Western Australia has recorded 115 new local Omicron cases as residents await an announcement on when the borders will reopen.

Wednesday’s tally marks the first time WA has reached triple figures for locally-acquired COVID-19 infections. The state had recorded just 14 local cases a week earlier.

There were also 13 new travel-related infections but WA Health did not indicate how many of the overall new cases had been infectious while in the community.

Premier Mark McGowan has promised an announcement on easing the border restrictions will be made by the end of the month.

The state had been due to fully reopen on February 5 before the premier backtracked, citing high rates of Omicron-related hospitalisations and deaths on the eastern states, as well as the need to improve WA’s third-dose vaccination rate.

WA’s booster rate has since climbed above 53 per cent and is on course to surpass 80 per cent sometime next month.

At least 32 schools and three aged care homes have been exposed during the Omicron outbreak.

The state government earlier this month softened its hard border rules, allowing more people to reunite with families.

About 30,000 people have since returned to WA to undertake seven days’ quarantine, with hundreds testing positive during that time.

Opposition health spokeswoman Libby Mettam said it was extraordinary there was still no certainty regarding the reopening date.

“After closing the borders, flattening the curve and buying that much-needed time to prepare an already ailing health system for the inevitable, where are we today?” she told parliament.

“Almost 700 days later and still closed to the rest of the world.”

A fringe West Australian MP was on Tuesday suspended from attending state parliament after failing to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

Legalise Cannabis MP Sophia Moermond was forced to leave the Legislative Council chamber after the McGowan government used the first sitting day to pass a motion requiring members to provide evidence of their vaccination status.

Upper house MPs were required to provide proof of having had their first and second doses by January 31 and proof of having had their booster by May 6.

They were able to alternatively provide evidence of a valid medical exemption.

Ms Moermond — who refused to disclose her vaccination status — claimed she was being personally targeted by the motion.

She later posted a statement on social media likening vaccine mandates to “medical apartheid”.


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