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Michael Ramsey and Mibenge Nsenduluka

WA farewells emergency COVID-19 powers

Western Australia's COVID-19 state of emergency has come to an end as the country braces for a new wave of infections.

WA's emergency powers expired overnight after more than two-and-a-half years.

They had been used by the McGowan government to take drastic measures earlier in the pandemic, including declaring border closures.

In a surprise move, the government has opted not to immediately enact replacement powers rushed through the Labor-controlled parliament last month.

The temporary COVID-19 declarations can be used to enforce mask-wearing and isolation requirements but do not allow for interstate travel bans.

Premier Mark McGowan has said the measures will only be activated when necessary but could be triggered by a spike in infections or the emergence of new variants.

"It's there and available should we require it," he told reporters this week.

Public hospitals will individually manage mask and visitor restrictions while still requiring staff and visitors to stay away when acutely unwell.

It comes as authorities warn of a fresh wave of infections as new variants spread across the nation.

"We are starting to see an increase of COVID-19 cases and changes in the variants circulating in NSW, which tells us we are entering the next COVID-19 wave," NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

"By looking at all the local information we have and what's happening overseas we believe COVID cases will rise in the coming weeks."

Dr Chant said several subvariants were circulating and while the BA.4 and BA.5 continued to be the most common, their dominance had diminished to 63 per cent.

There were 9707 people diagnosed in the week ending last Friday, an increase of 11.4 per cent on the previous week.

Tasmania's public health director Mark Veitch also warned of a likely wave after weekly infections jumped by about 27 per cent.


* NSW: 12,450 new cases, 24 deaths

* Victoria: 10,226 new cases, 24 deaths

* NT: 242 cases, no deaths

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