‘Keep the curve crushed’: McGowan declares support for virus elimination over suppression

WA Premier Mark McGowan has given the clearest indication yet the state is opting for the elimination of COVID-19 rather than a suppressing it.

Despite the July 2020 National Cabinet agreement to a suppression strategy with the goal of no community transmission and continued pressure from commentators over east over the state's hardline virus response, Mr McGowan said he supported ‘crushing the curve’ rather than flattening it.

WA Premier Mark McGowan. Credit:Peter de Kruijff

“Back in March, April, May we flattened the curve then we crushed the curve and I want to keep the curve crushed,” he said.

“I don’t want the virus to come back; I’m a supporter of elimination.

“Get rid of the virus within our borders, within our country, and keep it that way.

“The best thing we can do is keep the virus out, allow our economy and our health to go well within our borders.”

Mr McGowan has previously been critical of the suburb-level ‘hotspot’ approach adopted by New South Wales to suppress outbreaks while NSW politicians have blasted WA's hard border approach.

The war of words continued on Monday when NSW acting premier John Barilaro said on Sydney radio he was ‘sick to death’ of being lectured by WA when his state had processed about 105,000 returned travellers through its hotel quarantine system and half of those had then travelled to other states.

“We are like the dry cleaner or the car wash, we clean them and send them back to their states clean,” he said

“All that risk lays with NSW and of course our health system.

“When we get lectured by these others it is bloody hard to accept when they are not doing the heavy lifting.”

Mr McGowan said on a per capita basis WA was taking the most returned travellers of any state and he scoffed at a suggestion by Mr Barilaro that travellers arriving in NSW who reside in another state should be put on connecting flights so they can quarantine in their home state.

“The National Cabinet decided that each state would take in returning travellers wherever they were from; hotel quarantine them to make sure they were safe; test them within hotel quarantine and, if they were well, release them back to their home state. That’s the national agreement,” he said.

“That suggestion is silly, it’s counterproductive, it’s not acting as an Australian.”

WA’s border with New South Wales and Victoria will remain shut until the states go at least 28 days without a community transmission case.

On Monday NSW recorded no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, though two new cases were recorded after the reporting period in Sydney's west. The state currently has 188 active locally acquired cases.

Victoria recorded three new community cases and has 36 active cases.

WA Police issued a reminder to returning travellers from Victoria that they are required to self-quarantine for 14-days and get tested on the 11th day of their return if they arrived in WA from December 21.

Police said they continued to issue on the spot fines of $1000 to anyone breaching their quarantine or self-isolation requirements.

In one case a 23-year-old WA woman who had returned from Victoria on December 31 was issued a fine after a resident in her apartment building reported her after she used a shared apartment swimming pool and bought coffee from a coffee truck.

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