The Australian: WA Premier warns COVID-19 police bungle at Sydney airport ‘not the gold standard’ expected

A police bungle that allowed two German nationals to skip quarantine in Sydney is unlikely to derail WA’s plans for quarantine-free travel from NSW and Victoria, but the Premier warns it is “not the gold standard” expected.

A 53-year-old woman and 15-year-old boy flew into Sydney airport but were able to bypass quarantine to fly straight to Melbourne, where they were immediately intercepted by authorities and taken to a hotel.

NSW Police have accepted blame for the error, saying systems at the airport have now been reviewed and strengthened.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said it was “obviously concerning”.

“I haven’t had an explanation. It’s certainly not the gold standard,” he told reporters on Sunday.

“Fortunately, both of them were not positive — they’ve both been tested — but it obviously shows that COVID is a risk and that’s why we continue to have a controlled border in place to ensure we can protect people into the future.”

Asked if WA was still on track to allow quarantine-free travel to people in NSW and Victoria from Tuesday, Mr McGowan said: “We will wait until tomorrow to see all of the testing results out of NSW.”

The Premier said there had been no reports of new cases in NSW on Saturday after about 12,000 tests were conducted.

But he wanted to “wait and see” what other testing was done on Sunday before making a final decision about WA’s border arrangements on Monday.

“Along the COVID pathway, there’s been lots and lots and lots of issues and mistakes made,” Mr McGowan said.

“The good thing is we’ve always taken a very precautionary and very cautious approach.

“NSW currently has no community spread of the virus but because we have the controlled border in place, if we have to, we can put the hard border back in place in a heartbeat.”

WA last month moved from a hard border to a controlled interstate border with other jurisdictions, except South Australia following its outbreak.

It means people can travel to WA without quarantining for two weeks, but they must complete a G2G Pass and be screened upon arrival.

Many WA businesses are now being forced to keep a register of patrons and staff to help COVID-19 contact tracing, with a QR code system among the options.

Businesses that must keep a register include restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, gyms, sporting centres, places of worship, hairdressers, museums, cinemas, theatres, real estate inspections, zoos, amusement parks and accommodation facilities.

But on Saturday night the Safe WA app crashed, forcing people to sign in manually at venues rather than use the QR code system.

“I’m advised there was a 15 minute outage in relation to the system,” Mr McGowan said.

About 625,000 people have so far downloaded the app, while more than 18,000 businesses have signed up.

WA recorded two new cases of coronavirus overnight – both men aged in their 50s, who are in hotel quarantine.

It brings the state’s total number of infections to 830, including 13 active cases.

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