DIGEST

The Informer: Shut the borders. Just as fast as states reopened, they've closed again

Photo: File
Photo: File

Just as we were celebrating a nation of open borders, the cries of alarm and "shut the borders" began again.

Western Australia reported its first case in the community in 10 months on the weekend and moved to a hard five-day lockdown for Perth and its surrounds. It has since been confirmed the hotel quarantine worker in question has the highly contagious UK variant.

As the news of the hotel quarantine breach was announced, open borders began slamming shut.

South Australia went for a hard closure to all of WA as its Police Commissioner Grant Stevens explained it was the possible exposure to the UK variant that led to the state shutting its borders so quickly.

Tasmania followed a similar course, its Premier making no apologies for swiftly shutting the doors on WA.

Western Australians travelling to Queensland must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, with police checking all incoming flights for anybody trying to sneak in.

Victoria opted for a more measured closure declaring Perth, Peel and the South West regions red zones and shutting the border to people who've been in those areas; similar rules are in place in the Northern Territory where visitors from WA hotspots will have to quarantine at the Howard Springs facility for 14 days.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said there would be no change to NSW's border policy, with those from WA hotspots required to self-isolate for 14 days and be tested. NSW has recorded its 15th day of no locally acquired cases.

In Perth itself, it was a scene akin to the early days of lockdowns across the country in 2020, as people swarmed supermarkets to panic-buy supplies.

And then of course there was the impact to sports to consider - the BBL and NBL have to re-plan matches originally slated for Perth.

The Perth Wildcats will be relocated for at least the rest of the month, flying to Sydney today, which will allow the NBL team to continue training and playing, while in the BBL, the Scorchers will forgo traditional home-ground advantage to play their upcoming preliminary final at Canberra's Manuka Oval.

And the AFLW season has been thrown into early disarray with two clubs in lockdown and another facing 14-days of self-isolation.

The lockdown also hit the first day back of Federal Parliament for 2021.

ACT Health and federal parliamentary officials rushed to meet this morning to decide if MPs from the locked-down areas of WA could attend Parliament or not. They were granted an exemption.

Finally, turning attention to overseas affairs and the Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne is alarmed at reports the Myanmar military has tried to seize control of the southeast Asian country.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party have been detained in early morning raids and a State of Emergency has been declared.

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