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‘Confident and comfortable’: Government admits West Aussies acting as if COVID-19 doesn’t exist

WA has had 180 days without a single case of community spread of the disease. There is little evidence of social distancing in places like pubs and restaurants, despite the 2-square-metre rule remaining in place.

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Premier Mark McGowan said the upcoming budget, due to be released Thursday, was about keeping the state safe while increasing jobs and making the economy strong.

Pushed on whether he’d consider putting a date on when the state’s hard border would come down, Mr McGowan said he constantly discussed the hard border policy with the chief health officer and police commissioner, but would stick with his cautious approach.

“We have the freest and most open state in Australia by a country mile,” he said.

“Obviously a single case coming into WA is more dangerous to our state than it is in any other state.

“We don’t want to fall at the last hurdle. Let’s just hold out a bit longer and make sure we’re kept safe.”

The admission that the population is acting as normal comes as the rules around arrivals into the state change, with people arriving from Victoria no longer needing to quarantine in a hotel.

WA’s chief health officer decided hotel quarantine for Victorians was no longer necessary as long as they had somewhere they could self-quarantine for 14 days safely.

Arrivals will be tested on arrival in Perth and again on day 11 of their quarantine period.

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The limited exemption categories for Victorian arrivals will continue to apply.

Curtin University epidemiologist Professor Archie Clements said the risk in WA at the moment was fairly low, but the community should still be social distancing and continuing good hygiene habits.

“We shouldn’t be living as if there is no such thing as coronavirus, and in fact we’re not because we can’t travel,” he said.

“We still need to be vigilant and don’t want to create a sense of complacency.”

Professor Clements said it was important for people to practise good behaviour and good hygiene in preparedness for if things did go wrong.

“We do need to still be careful.”

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