Covid-19: Sydney removes hotel quarantine for foreign visitors – News

People walk through a mall as retail outlets reopen to the public in Sydney. – AFP

Sydney – Currently anyone entering Australia has to pay thousands of dollars to be isolated in a hotel room.


Posted: Fri, 15 Oct 2021, 7:08 AM

Last update: Fri Oct 15, 2021, 7:09 AM

Sydney is removing the mandatory quarantine for overseas travelers from next month, officials said on Friday, signaling an earlier than expected end to strict coronavirus restrictions.

Australia’s borders have been closed for the past 19 months to prevent the spread of Covid-19, stranding tens of thousands of Australians abroad and leading critics to label the country a ‘hermit state’ .

Currently, anyone entering Australia must be granted a travel exemption and pay several thousand dollars to be locked in a hotel room for 14 days.

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said that from November 1 fully vaccinated travelers in the state will need to test negative before boarding the plane, but should not have to everything to be quarantined upon arrival.

“For people doubly vaccinated around the world, Sydney, NSW is open for business,” he said. “The hotel quarantine will be a thing of the past. This is an important day for our state.”

Sydney’s 100-plus-day lockdown was lifted last week and the persistent rules are being phased out.

Under a national post-pandemic roadmap, the borders were to gradually reopen in November, with only Australians and permanent residents allowed entry with mandatory home quarantine.

Perrottet’s comments indicate that these restrictions will be removed sooner than expected – tourists can also come to Australia and quarantine requirements removed altogether.

The past 19 months have been devastating for Australia’s tourism industry, with visitor numbers down 98% since before the pandemic, statistics from Tourism Australia show.

The announcement also raises the possibility that residents of Sydney will be allowed to visit Paris but not Perth, as Western Australia’s borders with the rest of the country remain closed.

About Tammy N. McFarlane

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