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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

WA scraps masks, proof of vaccine mandates, workplace directives remain in place

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West Australians will no longer have to wear face masks or show proof of vaccination at most venues under new COVID-19 rules.

The state will also scrap quarantine for asymptomatic close contacts, in line with national guidelines, from 12.01am on Friday.

But workplace vaccination mandates will remain in place, meaning the unvaccinated will still be prevented from working in virtually all industries.

Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson says WA’s third dose vaccination rate is among the highest in the world, at 79 per cent, paving the way for the removal of restrictions.

Face masks will still need to be worn by people 12 and over in hospitals, aged care and disability care facilities and on public transport, rideshare and taxis.

Those aged eight to 11 will no longer have to wear masks, while all remaining venue capacity and public and private gathering limits will be abolished.

West Australians will no longer need to show proof of vaccination at pubs and other venues but it will be required to visit hospitals and aged care facilities.

Quarantine will be scrapped for asymptomatic close contacts, who must wear face masks outside of home, avoid high-risk settings and undertake daily rapid antigen tests.

The state will also scrap G2G travel passes and no longer require interstate travellers to have had least three vaccine doses.

Unvaccinated international arrivals must still quarantine for a week upon arrival, but that will be reviewed in four weeks’ time.

Sanderson on Tuesday said the measures were modest and targeted and could be scaled up if a new, more serious variant of the virus emerged.

Meanwhile, in South Australia, secondary students will be required to wear masks in schools for another month to try to minimise COVID-19 infections.

The state’s Emergency Management Council met on Tuesday and decided to keep mask use in place for the first four weeks of term two starting next week.

Primary school students will not be obliged to wear masks but it will be strongly recommended.

All teachers, in both primary and high schools, will be required to wear masks.

It will come with new rules including a requirement for close contacts of positive cases to take five rapid antigen tests over the seven-day period.

They will also be required to wear masks when outside the home, are banned from visiting high-risk settings such as aged care centres, and must tell their employers and any schools they have contact with of their status.

Close contacts will further be urged to avoid any non-essential gatherings or contact with vulnerable people.

If they develop symptoms they must take a PCR test and isolate until receiving the result.

The change comes into effect from Saturday, bringing SA into line with NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT.

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