Western Australia has again delayed its move to the next phase of eased coronavirus restrictions, this time by two months.
Phase five restrictions had been tentatively flagged to commence on August 29 after being pushed back numerous times from the original date in mid-July.
“The further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in Western Australia has been delayed again by two months,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said on Tuesday.
“The new tentative start date of phase five will now be Saturday, October 24. As always, this is a tentative date only.”
Perth Royal Show cancelled for 2020
Mr McGowan also announced the 2020 Perth Royal Show had been cancelled, based on health advice.
“This morning I informed the Royal Agricultural Society that the show cannot go ahead this year,” he said.
“Obviously, this news will be very disappointing for many families, for many businesses and of course for many regional farming communities.”
The annual show was due to run from September 26-October 3.
WA has recorded one new COVID-19 case overnight, a returning resident who remains in hotel quarantine.
There are five active cases in the state.
No need to ‘push the envelope’: McGowan
Phase five would have involved removing the state’s remaining COVID-19 restrictions, except for WA’s hard border and access to remote Aboriginal communities.
The expiring restrictions would have included removing the two-square-metre rule as well as the 50 per cent capacity cap for major venues.
But Mr McGowan said even though WA had not had community transmission of the virus for 120 days, the state could not afford to become complacent.
“The virus could sneak back into Western Australia and spread like wildfire,” he said.
“If we can learn anything from over east and overseas, including New Zealand recently, it’s that’s this virus can spread extremely fast.”
Mr McGowan said health officials had advised it might take two months or longer for Victoria’s outbreak to be “fully under control”.
“By remaining in phase four for longer, it assists us in reducing the numbers of people who could be potentially exposed and requiring health responses should an outbreak occur in our state,” he said.
“We don’t need to push the envelope.”
The WA government had previously extended phase four in two-week periods, but Mr McGowan said he understood the short extensions had created uncertainty.
“It’s difficult for many people across our community and across a wide section of industries to properly plan,” he said.
“I can understand many people were hoping and planning for phase 5 to be introduced sooner, and this decision will throw those plans out, but proceeding to phase five too soon is just not appropriate right now.”