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Western Australia braces for tighter restrictions as COVID cases grow

WA COVID-19
Despite closed borders, COVID has slipped into Western Australia, prompting Premier McGowan to review existing rules.Photo: AAP
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Western Australia has recorded 38 new local coronavirus cases as the Premier warns social restrictions are likely to be introduced.

Premier Mark McGowan says the government will consider restrictions as cases increase.

Currently WA has an indoor mask mandate and vaccination requirements to enter certain venues.

“We haven’t actually made a decision on when (further restrictions) will come in, but at some point in time they will come in,” Mr McGowan said on Sunday.

WA continues to add to its stockpile of rapid antigen tests but Mr McGowan says PCR testing will remain the preferred method so long as the state has capacity.

He says the state’s clinics can handle 35,000 PCR tests daily and is currently only at about 15 to 20 per cent of that.

The state also has 8.8 million RATs in its stockpile, with another 2.4 million expected to arrive within the week.

It is mandatory to report positive rapid antigen tests to state health authorities, which 10 of Sunday’s positive cases had done.

“We just need to know what the spread of the virus is in the community and we rely upon people doing the right thing in order to inform us of that,” Mr McGowan says.

Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson says a new advertising campaign will be launched to educate the public about close contact definitions and isolation requirements as the state prepares for “living with the virus”.

“Our public health and social measures including mask wearing and isolation are doing a good job of keeping case numbers low but we do not expect that this will continue forever. We know that the Omicron variant is highly transmissible,” Ms Sanderson said.