Social distancing has been rebranded “physical distancing” in Western Australia as people are encouraged to maintain a 1.5-metre gap while the coronavirus pandemic rolls on.
Health Minister Roger Cook has against complacency, despite the state again recording no new cases of COVID-19 overnight.
“This is a deadly virus and everyone in the community, who has done such a good job of observing all the measures we need to maintain, we want you to keep going,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“Every day that we have no new cases is another day that we grow in confidence and is another opportunity for us to take bolder steps, more ambitious steps.”
The state government has been under pressure to further loosen restrictions, including bringing down the remaining regional borders.
Mr Cook promised WA businesses would be given as much notice as possible before that happens.
“We certainly will make sure that people have time to plan for the re-opening of our regional borders,” he said.
“That’s what we did last week when we gave notice that we would collapse our zones from 13 to just four.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has suggested some states are keeping their interstate borders shut because it is popular, but Mr Cook says her language has been “fairly unhelpful”.
“We’ve got very firm advice from the chief health officer with regards to our interstate borders – they are an important part of keeping Western Australians safe,” he said.
“The interstate borders will stay.”
WA’s chief health officer Andrew Robertson said it would take at least one month to confirm community spread had been eliminated in affected jurisdictions, and until then opening interstate borders was not recommended.
“If the community spread is controlled, relaxation of the interstate borders could be considered after the introduction and assessment of the impact of phase four,” he said on Wednesday.
The WA government has also announced it is bringing forward $12 million in Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund grants to allow projects to start sooner.
Funding will be available for local governments and not-for-profit groups to improve sporting facilities.