WA Premier Mark McGowan (Image: AAP/Richard Wainwright)

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan just raised a middle finger to the national COVID plan, and anyone separated from loved ones in the state, announcing the hard border, set to fall on February 5, would remain in place indefinitely.

“It would be reckless and irresponsible to open up now; I can’t do it,” McGowan said, pointing to the Omicron wave causing high case numbers across the country.

It’s a major U-turn from McGowan, who just last month promised to stick to the reopening date despite Omicron’s emergence barring an “unforeseen emergency or catastrophe”. Instead WA will keep the border closed until 80% or 90% of eligible Western Australians had received a third vaccine dose. Currently, 88% of Western Australians over 12 are double vaccinated, but with just 25% boosted, and many ineligible, that vague target seems months away.