WATCH LIVE: Mark McGowan holds press conference amid COVID-19 outbreak in Bunbury
The Bunbury COVID-19 outbreak has grown as WA reported a total of 24 new infections and Mark McGowan announced that booster shots can be given three months after the second dose.
A COVID-19 outbreak in Bunbury has risen to 16 after nine new infections were recorded in the area on Wednesday.
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced the news at a press conference as the state recorded two dozen new cases, the second highest number of daily infections this month.
“Overnight there were 24 new cases across Western Australia. Of those nine, they were from Bunbury,” he said.
One of the non-Bunbury COVID-19 cases remains unlinked, while the others were recorded in Perth.
Mr McGowan has urged residents of Bunbury to come in for a PCR test, with extended clinic testing hours in place on Wednesday.
“As a result of the Bunbury outbreak, we are extending the Bunbury Testing Clinic until 6 p.m. tonight, it was originally scheduled to close at 4 p.m.,” he said.
“My advice, again to everyone in the community is please, if you’re not feeling well, go get tested, if you’ve been to an exposure site, please go get tested.
“If you are a close or casual contact, you obviously need to get tested. It is very important that we use our PCR clinics as much as possible to get people tested as soon as possible.”
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The state’s dose-dose vaccination rate now stands at 90% – the milestone that was supposed to trigger the reopening of the Western Australian border on February 5 before it was delayed indefinitely by Mr McGowan .
“It’s a remarkable achievement – one that many thought West Australians could never achieve,” the prime minister said on social media.
“I want to thank everyone who got vaccinated over the past year – to protect themselves and their loved ones from this dangerous virus.”
Mr McGowan also announced a change to when the recall can be administered, bringing Western Australia in line with other states.
The Prime Minister has indicated that the recall rate will be crucial in determining when Western Australia brings down its hard border with the rest of Australia.
“As of Monday, January 31, the delay between the second and third dose drops to three months,” he said.
“You can get your third dose after three months from Monday, increasing the availability of third doses for people and in a shorter time frame.”
Wednesday’s press conference came a day after Mr McGowan revealed the state’s back-to-school plans.
He also flagged the possibility of stricter measures in the event of a large-scale COVID-19 outbreak.
As part of the back-to-school plan, all 900 public schools in WA were inspected to check the ventilation of each classroom.
On top of that, 12,000 air purifiers and 1,500 CO2 monitors will be provided to schools if needed and there will be enhanced cleaning services across the state.
Mask-wearing – as mandated in Perth, Peel and the South West – will be worn by school staff and secondary students.
All staff and regular visitors should be vaccinated with double doses and students are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.