Western Australia (WA) is the largest state in Australia covering an area of some 2, 500,000 sq km and 2, 400 km from north to south. The population is most concentrated in the state’s capital city of Perth. When state borders closed in the first week of April we became temporary residents of WA until we COVID-19 restrictions allow us to travel again.
I worried that having to bunker down this far from home (4, 600 kms) would be stressful and expensive: it has been neither. We have not been affected by shortages of either bathroom necessities or other grocery items. In recognition of the 75, 000 interstate travellers around Australia a number of caravan parks in each state were identified as places for these travellers to stay while the coronavirus ran its course.
WA’s Premier was quick to announce border closures, travel restrictions, isolation strategies and to publicize concise and well explained expectations to limit the spread of coronavirus. Cruise ships were no longer permitted to dock in any WA port and all non-essential inter/national travel in and out of the state ceased.
Those on-road travellers who preferred to return to their home states were granted exemptions to travel across the border. Police and armed forces monitored the borders and travellers’ details were recorded and followed up in home states to ensure travellers self-isolated once home for the 14-day period.
The Premier’s restrictions – from border closures, to implementing regional borders within the state, limiting groups to no more than two people, restricting non-essential travel, closing schools, restaurants, bars, clubs, cinemas, public playgrounds, swimming pools – has managed to reduce the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to a minimum.
Australia has now recorded over 6720 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3004 in New South Wales, 1350 in Victoria, 1033 in Queensland, 438 in South Australia, 549 in Western Australia, 214 in Tasmania, 106 in the Australian Capital Territory and 28 in the Northern Territory. A total of 83 deaths have been recorded nationally.
We have spent the last four weeks in the South West region of WA, which is a beautiful part of the country. There are no flies, the weather is sunny and the beaches and paved walk and cycleways magnificent. If ever there was a place to be ‘stranded’ for any length of time then this south west corner of Western Australia is the place to be.
The climate here is Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and wet winters. About 900 mm of rain fall per year, with almost all of it falling between May and September. Everything is green and lush and the variety of vegetation is amazing.
The economy of the South West is very diverse. It is a major world producer of alumina and mineral sands, and also has substantial agriculture, timber and viticulture industries. It is Western Australia’s most popular tourist destination outside Perth.
- Excellent state leadership that helped to minimise widespread panic
- Easy to understand regulations
- Availability of essential food and grocery items