Australia’s Biggest State Opens to Travelers, Ending Isolation
(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s most populous state will open to fully-vaccinated international travelers next month, ending a protracted border ban that has kept the nation largely isolated from the rest of the world since the pandemic started more than 18 months ago.
In a major policy shift, newly installed New South Wales state Premier Dominic Perrottet on Friday said fully vaccinated international travelers would no longer need to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days upon arrival. There’ll be no need for home quarantine either, meaning tourists will be allowed to travel freely around the state.
“For double-vaccinated people around the world, Sydney, New South Wales is open for business,” Perrottet said at a media conference. “We want people back.”
The announcement is an acceleration of plans to end Australia’s Covid isolation as vaccination rates climb. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said international borders would open in mid-November. It’s also a rapid change for Sydney, which only started to emerge from more than 100 days of lockdown on Monday after an outbreak of the more infectious delta variant put paid to the state’s Covid-Zero policy.
Australia has been subject to one of the world’s strictest controls on overseas travel since the pandemic hit in March 2020, with caps placed on arrivals and returning travelers subject to hotel quarantine at their own cost.
Shares of Qantas Airways Ltd. jumped as much as 4.3% after the announcement, before paring gains to be 2.2% higher at 12:03 p.m. Sydney time.
Read more: Australia Travel Stocks Up as NSW Ends Quarantine for Vaccinated
Travelers will still be required to prove they received an approved vaccination and return a negative PCR test before boarding flights to Sydney. International arrivals for unvaccinated people will be capped at 210 per week and they will still have to undergo the 14-day hotel quarantine.
As New South Wales’ inoculation rate for adults looks set to reach 80% this weekend, further restrictions and social distancing measures will also be lifted from Monday. Neighboring Victoria will also open its border to fully vaccinated New South Wales residents from Oct. 19.
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