New South Wales to ditch quarantine restrictions for returning residents

On Friday morning, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the state’s plans to abolish hotel and home quarantine requirements for returning residents.

Good news for vaccinated Australians living overseas! With the nation on track to meet and beat its vaccination targets, the rules and regulations on Australia’s hard international border shifting in the coming weeks.

Scott Morrison announced in a press conference yesterday that more than 40,000 Australians will be able to return home, with the cap on international arrivals lifting on the first day of November, as long as they pass through New South Wales.

The good news arrived after Premier Dominic Perrottet faced the New South Wales public Friday morning, annoucing the state’s plans to abolish hotel and home quarantine requirements for returning residents.

Coming into effect on the fast-approaching November 1, Perrottet stated that quarantine requirements for vaccinated international arrivals would be discarded, as the state closes in on the crucial 80 per cent vaccinated milestone.

“We can’t live here in the hermit kingdom,” said Perrottet in Friday’s press conference.

“We’ve got to open up and this decision today is a big one, but it is the right one to get New South Wales connected globally.”

However, the newly-appointed Premier’s plans to dissolve NSW’s hard borders was soon revised, with Perrottet’s announcement going against the Federal roadmap for opening up to overseas arrivals, as per recommendations of the Doherty Institute.

Formerly including skilled migrants, international students and business travellers, the NSW Government have tightened the rope on overseas arrivals exempt from home and hotel quarantine, with only vaccinated returning residents and overseas parents now permitted.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison assured the nation that Australia will open again to international visitors in good time, however he was pleased to see NSW in the position to open its international borders so soon after its struggle with COVID.

“It is for the Commonwealth and Federal Government to decide when the border open and shut at an international level and we will do that. We are not rushing into this,” said Morrison on Friday.

“I am very pleased that the NSW Government has advised they will be in a position [for a] no quaretinine arrangement for people arriving back in Australia.”

“What this also means is we will be allowing Australians, permanent residents and citizens and their families, to leave Australia from wherever they live in Australia and return.”

With Christmas just around the corner, the NSW Government’s decision to ditch quarantine requirements grants standard Australians the chance to come home and reunite with family after 18 months of separation. The proposed abolishment of the longstanding overseas border restrictions grants Australians a glimpse of what a new COVID-normality may look like.

The news comes from the NSW Government as the state celebrated its first ‘Freedom Day’, which saw the lockdown restrictions across the state and metropolitan ease for the first time since July. Canberra exited its lockdown on Friday afternoon, with the ACT’s double-dose vaccination rate ticking over 70%.

At the time of writing, over 17 Million Australians have received their first COVID vaccination, with 84% of the nation having rolled up their sleeves for their initial dose. A total of 66.3% of Australians over 16 are now fully vaccinated.

South Australia is racing to the 80% fully vaccinated milestone, with over 57% of South Aussies having received both doses of the COVID vaccination.

Attention is now towards vaccinating the SA’s younger population, with the state Government rolling out a school vaccination program aimed at children between 12 and 18.

Pop-up vaccination hubs will be established at more than 20 schools later this month as part of a six-week blitz to administer first and second doses. It is estimated that the program will provide vaccinations to thousands of young South Australians across the state.

“The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is our pathway out of the pandemic and is a key part of our strong COVID-ready transition plan to keep South Australia safe and strong,” said Marshall.

Further, in a national, South Australia has also been trialling home quarantine for overseas arrivals since mid-September. Premier Steven Marshall said the trial was a testament to the state’s strong COVID recovery plan.

“What we learn from the domestic and international Home Quarantine SA trials could help the entire nation to safely repatriate more Australians coming home from overseas,” said Marshall.

Federal change to international border directions follows the national roadmap to a COVID safe Australia, as per recommendations of the Doherty Institute. While Australia is on track to reach the crucial 80 per cent threshold, it is expected the nation will reach its target well before its 2022 due date.

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