Kimberley Local Government Areas to close borders tonight as new cases emerge in region

Peter De Kruijff and Carly LadenBroome Advertiser
Premier Mark McGowan.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian, Ian Munro Picture: Ian Munro

Further movement restrictions are set to be in place for the Kimberley from 11.59pm tonight, after new cases continue to emerge in the region.

Residents will not be able to leave their Local Government area–Broome, Derby-West Kimberley, Halls Creek and Wyndham-East Kimberley–except for exempted reasons.

There have now been cases in Broome, Halls Creek and Kununurra including health care workers.

Premier Mark McGowan said six people had been told to self-isolate in Kununurra after a confirmed case in the town, with one of the self-isolating individuals displaying flu-like symptoms.

A number of them had been rostered on at the Kununurra road checkpoint on March 29.

Mr McGowan said he was very concerned about the situation in the Kimberley.

“Obviously Aboriginal people their immunity is not as robust in many cases as non-aboriginal people and the medical services the further you get from Perth are thinner on the ground,” he said.

“What we want to make sure is we protect the people of the Kimberley as best we can.”

There are now understood to be 12 confirmed cases in the region.

It comes as community, business and health leaders across the Kimberley began discussions with State and Federal governments to ensure the it had suitable quarantine accommodation to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Personal protective equipment and testing kits have also been mooted as priorities for the North.

A statement released by the Kimberley Regional Group today said the four shires were united in support for medical teams that are on the frontline against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shire of Broome president Harold Tracey said the KRG were “extremely aware” of the concerns of residents and the economic shock to local businesses and are looking to ensure people’s safety and plan for the recovery phase.

“We are all making sacrifices, some are very large sacrifices, but we will save lives,” he said.

Shire of Derby-West Kimberley president Geoff Haerewa said the group was focused on the health and resilience of the communities and supporting frontline organisations.

Shire of Halls Creek president Malcolm Edwards has urged residents to listen to health advice, ratite social distancing and wash their hands frequently.

“Halls Creek is the gateway to some of our largest and most remote Aboriginal communities,” he said.

“Talk to your family and friends to make sure they understand what to do.”

Shire of Wyndham/-East Kimberley president David Menzel said the Shire was working with not just State and Federal representatives, but also with the Northern Territory.

“It is early days in this fight against COVID-19 and we are likely to see more cases confirmed over the next few weeks, so we must remain vigilant and do the right thing by our communities,” he said.

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