NSW to ‘rejoin world’ and end quarantine for international arrivals

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imageNSW to scrap quarantine for international arrivals from November 1 in major policy shift NSW will open its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers — who will no longer need to quarantine in hotels, or at home — from next month.Key points: – Unvaccinated travellers will still have to enter hotel quarantine but there will only be around 200 spots per week – NSW is the first state or territory to lift the requirement for quarantine – People from Sydney will not be able to travel to regional NSW until November 1 In a major policy shift, Premier Dominic Perrottet announced people from his state would “be travelling to Bali before Broome” when the reforms come into effect on November 1.People wanting to arrive in Sydney from overseas will need to show proof they’ve received a TGA-approved vaccine, and undertake a PCR test for COVID-19 before they board their flight.”We are opening Sydney and NSW to the world, and that date will come in on November 1.

[We] will work closely with the Commonwealth to ensure protections are in place so we keep people safe [as we] rejoin the world,” Mr Perrottet said.

Since March 2020 all states and territories have required all overseas passengers to quarantine in hotels, at their own expense, for 14 days.Last month, then-premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a trial of home quarantine for eligible international arrivals but her successor, Mr Perrottet, has now pressed fast-forward on this transition.NSW is the only state to announce quarantine-free international travel.

All interstate borders to NSW remain closed.”We can’t live here in hermit kingdom.

So many businesses [here] rely on tourism for business and trade,” Mr Perrottet said.Anyone who is not fully vaccinated will still be required to enter hotel quarantine but there will only be 210 spots available per week.

Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said the November 1 date was chosen as it gave airlines two weeks to put on extra flights to NSW.The announcement comes as the state recorded 399 locally acquired COVID-19 cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday.There were 85,000 tests undertaken in the reporting period.There are now 677 COVID patients in hospitals across the state, with 145 people in intensive care.

Despite NSW Health pandemic modelling suggesting October would be the worst month for hospitalisations and intensive care admissions, hospital admissions have trended downwards since October 1, falling from 1,055 to 677.The number of people in intensive care has also fallen, dropping from 210 at the beginning of the month to 145 today.

However, Mr Perrottet warned on Monday — which he dubbed “Freedom Day” — that the expected surge of cases from loosening restrictions may not appear for up to two weeks.The Premier said NSW was expected to reach another vaccine target this weekend, with 80 per cent of people aged 16 and over fully inoculated.That means [further restrictions will ease for people who’ve had both jabs from Monday, October 18](/news/2021-10-07/nsw-october-11-restrictions-changing-explained/100520044) .These include more visitors in homes, larger outdoor gatherings, standing in pubs and the end of caps on wedding and funerals.Regional travel for Greater Sydney residents had also been promised at 80 per cent but the government has today pushed that back again to November 1.Mayors from the regions say they are worried about potential community transmission due to unequal vaccination rates outside metro areas.

Only 36 per cent of NSW regional LGAs have 80 per cent double-vaccination coverage, Deputy Premier Paul Toole said.In the Byron Bay Local Government Area (LGA), only 47.1 per cent of those eligible to get a vaccine have had two doses.The Hunter region’s Cessnock LGA, and the Clarence Valley LGA in the state’s north, also have low vaccination rates, at 58.4 per cent and 56.6 per cent respectively.Mr Toole said he realised the delay was “frustrating” for those who had planned trips or reunions with family outside Greater Sydney.

“It is important we don’t open up businesses and start to see them having case numbers escalate, putting those communities and businesses in jeopardy.” Mr Toole said the new November 1 re-opening was a “hard, fast date” which would not be pushed back any further.Earlier in the Delta outbreak vaccine doses were diverted from the regions to areas of Sydney that were seeing the highest COVID-19 case numbers but yesterday Mr Perrottet said vaccination supply was no longer an issue for the regions.

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