Western Australia has had a massive spike in Covid-19 infections, hitting an unwanted record number of locally acquired cases.
Western Australia has hit a record number of locally acquired Covid-19 cases overnight, but Premier Mark McGowan is still remaining tight-lipped on when he will bring down the hard border.
WA Health reported a total of 128 new cases, including 115 local infections and 13 linked to travel.
Four of the new cases were identified via rapid antigen tests.
It brings the state’s total number of active cases to 444 but none are in hospital.
Mr McGowan told reporters the third dose vaccination rate was now at 53.3 per cent.
He confirmed one person had become unwell in a prison but he did not know which one.
“I think it was a guard … it is concerning — that’s why we’ve mandated vaccines for guards,” he said.
“We strongly encourage prisoners to get vaccinated, as best we can.”
Mr McGowan was repeatedly asked about WA’s hard border, after he flagged he would make an announcement about it this month.
He conceded some people did not support his decision to push back reopening from February 5, but insisted he was doing the “right thing” by the state and that was what mattered.
“Dropping the border at this point in time would just mean we infect hundreds or thousands of new cases into WA whilst our third dose vaccination rate is not high enough,” he said.
“What we are doing is saving lives and saving jobs at the same time.
“Some people haven’t liked the measures we’ve taken but doing the right thing – making difficult decisions is actually my job.”
Meanwhile, anti-vaccination protesters, who marched to WA parliament on Tuesday, are continuing to linger at Langley Park in the CBD, prompting Mr McGowan to urge them to go home.
“I understand some people are camping down at Langley Park — I just urge those people to move on and go home,” he said.
It comes as Legalise Cannabis MP Sophie Moermond was banned from entering state parliament after she refused to provide proof of vaccination or a valid medical exemption.
The Upper House MP told parliament on Tuesday that she felt like she had been targeted by the motion.
“I choose not to reveal my medical information publicly because my medical privacy is important to me and my views are not the same as those of members opposite,” she said.
“For them to think I am a danger because they are unaware of my vaccination status makes them ignorant.
“If they fear me and my lack of disclosure, they will have to fear everyone with whom they ever come into contact with.
“It has been shown that vaccination does not guarantee safety — people can still acquire Covid and they can still transmit it.”
Originally published as Western Australia hits record number of locally acquired Covid-19 cases