Mathias Cormann claims WA is unprepared for a COVID-19 outbreak

Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann claims Western Australia has a “somewhat inflated sense of security” with its border closure and is unprepared for a COVID-19 outbreak, but the Premier says it is better to not have the virus at all.

Life in WA is essentially back to normal, but the state government has been criticised by the commonwealth and other state leaders for not reopening the border to low-risk jurisdictions, even being accused of economic protectionism.

“(WA has) this, I don’t want to call it false sense of security, but perhaps somewhat inflated sense of security from the border,” Senator Cormann told a business event on Monday.

“I don’t think we are prepared as we could be or as we should be to deal with (an outbreak).

“We haven’t really set up the systems and processes to minimise the risk and to respond to it as swiftly as we can on the basis that we believe that our border is going to keep us secure. Well, it might, it might not.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan says it’s better to not have the virus at all than to live with some degree of it. Picture: Colin Murty / The AustralianSource:News Corp Australia

Health Minister Roger Cook said the WA senator was wrong about the state’s preparedness, while Premier Mark McGowan said it was far better to not have the virus at all than to live with some degree of it.

“We do have all of the measures ready that if the virus comes back in we can engage in contact tracing, we can quarantine people, we have staff on standby ready to perform all those roles,” he told reporters.

“The idea that somehow it’s better to have the virus and then contact trace and clamp down and close parts of economy, close parts of the society versus not having the virus … clearly not having the virus is better.

“I know there’s lots of complaint by the commonwealth government, and particularly people from the east about these matters, but if you went to Sydney or Melbourne today there’s all sorts of rules in place about how you can gather.

“In WA we don’t have those rules in place because we’ve successfully kept the virus out.”

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