NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced that from 1 November, international arrivals will no longer be required to complete any form of hotel or home quarantine.
The new rules, which apply only to fully vaccinated travellers, appear to be a slight deviation from the national plan announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this month, which specified a seven-day period of home quarantine for those returning to Australia.
It also comes as NSW is set to hit its 80 per cent second dose vaccination target earlier than expected, on Monday, 18 October.
Additionally, from 1 November, all fully vaccinated arrivals currently in hotel quarantine will be released, regardless of how much time is left in their quarantine period.
The number of arrivals that are not yet fully vaccinated, and therefore need to enter 14-day hotel quarantine, will be capped to 210 people per week.
The Premier did note that additional advice on possible testing requirements for overseas arrivals will be provided “in the coming days”.
Perrottet also announced that regional travel between Greater Sydney and the rest of regional NSW will be allowed from 1 November.
Previously, the NSW government announced that regional travel throughout the state would be reinstated once NSW hits the 80 per cent vaccination milestone, however Perrottet stated this has now been pushed back in order to “allow people in the regions more time to receive their second vaccine”.
“We have reached this vaccination milestone quicker than anyone thought we could, and that is a testament to the hard work of people across the state turning out to get vaccinated,” Premier Perrottet said.
“Welcoming back fully vaccinated travellers will not only mean families and friends can be home in time for Christmas, it will also give our economy a major boost.”
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that fully vaccinated citizens and residents will be able to leave the country freely and return without hotel quarantine in November.
The new requirements, which were set to kick in once states hit 80 per cent double-dose inoculation, notably specified that those arriving back in the country enter quarantine at home for seven days.
“It’s time to give Australians their lives back,” said Prime Minister Morrison. “Let’s get vaccinated and get on with it.”
Initially, the federal plan will apply to Australian citizens and permanent residents, with skilled migrants and international students coming in the next phase and tourists in the final phase, due for next year.
The federal government has said it will also soon announce a number of quarantine-free travel bubbles in the coming weeks, which will see the country able to welcome tourists for the first time in 18 months.
However, the Prime Minister later suggested that the government would not prioritise the mass return of international tourists until 2022.
The NSW announcement comes just days after NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres suggested that international travel could resume to the state as soon as the end of the month.
“I think it’s a really good objective to be looking at the end of October or early November as an opportunity where we can start to see caps either removed or substantially lifted for fully vaccinated people,” Ayres said.
“My very clear expectation is for unvaccinated people or people who do not have a TGA-recognised vaccine, those caps will stay in place and quarantine in some form will stay for those people.”
His comments follow similar hints at the weekend by both new NSW premier Dominic Perrottet and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Perrottet previously said he wanted international travel to resume “as quickly as possible” and said Australia can’t “live as a hermit kingdom on the other side of the world”.
“If people are double vaccinated it makes complete sense for them to return to Australia in better settings than being cramped up in a hotel for two weeks,” he said.
Morrison meanwhile said the federal government would look to “fast-track” the process of resuming flights into NSW.