As the Australian state of New South Wales nears its goal of 80% vaccination, state authorities announced Friday that fully vaccinated travelers from around the world will be able to travel to Sydney and Australia's capital.
Two passengers pass a Qantas plane at Sydney Airport's International Terminal. Getty Images
The Key Facts
New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the move. He said that the state of New South Wales (NSW), needed to be open to the world. This plan would allow citizens and residents of Australia to return to the country, after which they will have to go through home quarantine. Perrottet said that hotel and home quarantines are no longer necessary as full opening up will allow for economic growth. This is a state that has been hard hit by the nearly four-month-long Covid-19 lockdown. Perrottet explained that travelers entering Sydney will need to present proof of vaccination and pass a Covid-19 test to board a plane to Australia. Perrottet said that the maximum number of non-vaccinated travelers permitted into the state will remain at 210 per week. Those who are not vaccinated will have to be quarantined for 14 days in a hotel. According to the Guardian, airlines expect a huge surge in ticket sales following the announcement. In the next 48 hours, there will be 6,000 seats available across all airlines flying into Sydney.
New South Wales is preparing to allow international travelers who have been vaccinated, but its residents are still prohibited from traveling interstate or regionally. This is because the vaccination rates in other states are lower.
78.81% This is the number of eligible New South Wales residents over 16 who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Only 66.33% of Australia's eligible population have been fully vaccinated. The federal government plan will allow for the elimination of almost all restrictions at 80% after a 70% full vaccination rate has been achieved.
With vaccination rates at 70%, Sydney was able to lift a nearly four-month-long closure. This week saw cafes, restaurants and gyms open again for fully vaccinated people. Perrottet celebrated Australia's largest city being reopened, calling it freedom day. However, he acknowledged that new infections could rise as more people leave. To eradicate Covid, Australia implemented some of the most severe border controls and lockdown measures around the globe early in the pandemic. After a deadly virus-like outbreak in Syndey, Melbourne and other major cities, the Morrison government started to adopt a live with the virus approach. Despite some resistance from the local governments in virus-free areas, the federal plan calls to remove nearly all restrictions after 80% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
NSW will end quarantine for international fully vaccinated arrivals (Guardian).
Sydney will open to international travelers without quarantine (Reuters).
Sydney celebrates Freedom Day after Nearly Four Months of Covid Lockdown, As Vaccination Rate Exceeds 70% (Forbes).
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