Australian state declares it will dump international quarantine requirements from November 1
Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) government has unilaterally declared it is dumping quarantine requirements and caps for fully vaccinated overseas travellers from November 1. Read More » Recently installed NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, said his state would remove quarantine requirements and caps for overseas arrivals who have the required doses of an Australian-approved vaccine and had taken a COVID test. Fully vaccinated travellers already in quarantine will be released even if they had not completed 14 days of quarantine. Overseas arrivals not fully vaccinated would be capped at 210 people a week and be required to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine. The announcement was made as the percentage of fully vaccinated NSW residents over 16 years approaches 80%. Qantas said it would bring forward the restart of its international flights by two weeks to November 1. The airline will operate up to five return flights a week from Sydney to London and up to four return flights a week from Sydney to Los Angeles with its Boeing 787 Dreamliners. More flights will be added to meet demand if needed, it said.
“We have reached this vaccination milestone quicker than anyone thought we could. It is a testament to the hard work of people across the State turning out to be vaccinated,” Perrottet said. “Welcoming back fully vaccinated travellers will not only mean families and friends can be home in time for Christmas, it will give our economy a major boost.” The announcement was a surprise because quarantine and border control is a Commonwealth government responsibility. It also is not clear if Australia has the processes in place to cope with such a reopening by the November 1 deadline. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who sources said was blindsided by the NSW announcement, said the eased restrictions would apply to Australian citizens first. "The Commonwealth Government has made no decision to allow other visa holders - skilled visa holders, student visa holders, international visitors travelling under an EPA or visiting visa arrangements - to come into Australia under these arrangements. They are decisions for the Commonwealth government, as the premier and I know.'' International airlines welcomed the NSW move but said key issues remained, including how Australia would verify international vaccination certificates.