Sydney to scrap hotel quarantine for overseas visitors

Officials in Sydney announced Friday that obligatory quarantine for international visitors will be phased out beginning next month, signalling a faster-than-expected conclusion to strict coronavirus restrictions.

For the past 19 months, Australia’s borders have been closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, leaving tens of thousands of Australians stranded overseas and prompting detractors to label the country a “hermit state.”

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Currently, anyone entering Australia must first obtain a travel exemption and pay tens of thousands of dollars to be detained in a hotel room for 14 days.

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet announced that beginning November 1, fully vaccinated visitors to the state will be required to test negative before boarding a plane, but will not be subjected to any quarantine upon arrival.

“Sydney, New South Wales, is available for business for double-vaccinated people all over the world,” he stated. “Quarantine at hotels will be a thing of the past. This is a watershed moment for our state.”

Last Monday, Sydney’s 100-day lockdown was ended, and residual regulations are progressively being phased out.

Borders were to progressively reopen in November, according to a national post-pandemic road map, with only Australians and permanent residents permitted in with enforced home quarantine.

According to Perrottet’s comments, those limits will be lifted sooner than expected, with visitors being allowed to visit Australia as well as quarantine requirements being eliminated entirely.

According to Tourism Australia figures, the last 19 months have been terrible for Australia’s tourist business, with visitor numbers down 98 percent since before the outbreak.

Because Western Australia’s borders with the rest of the country remain closed, the announcement opens the possibility that Sydney citizens may be able to visit Paris but not Perth.

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