Explainer: How NSW’s scrapping of quarantine for international arrivals will work

All quarantine will be scrapped for fully vaccinated international arrivals entering New South Wales from November 1, Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced.

The surprise move is a radical change to Australia’s management of COVID-19 and leaves NSW on its own as it prepares to welcome overseas visitors.

Here’s what we know about how the new policy will work.

Hotel quarantine will be scrapped for fully-vaccinated return travellers and tourists entering New South Wales from November 1, Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced. (9News)

How will the new NSW process work?

To qualify for no quarantine, arrivals from overseas will need to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved vaccine, including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
Travellers will also need to do a PCR COVID-19 test before boarding their flight and will have to show proof of vaccination.

Once approved, those arrivals will be free to go about their lives in NSW without having to spend any time in quarantine.

Further advice about testing requirements for passengers on arrival will be provided in the coming days, the premier said.

The aim of the decision is to allow Australians stranded abroad to get home by the end of the year and to relaunch international travel and tourism.

“For double-vaccinated people around the world, Sydney, NSW is open for business,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Hotel quarantine, home quarantine is a thing of the past.” 

He said NSW would work with the Commonwealth to ensure adequate protections would be in place.

“We need to rejoin the world,” Mr Perrottet said. 

“We can’t live here in a hermit kingdom. 

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

Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Minister Stuart Ayres said the state’s home quarantine trial had been a factor in the decision to end quarantine. 

“The trial has been absolutely critical,” he said. 

“What the trial has told us is the technology works for identifying the people that are in their home, following restrictions and quarantine requirements.  

“It also told us in the first two weeks unequivocally, without doubt, the resources required by the government to monitor that system does not make sense when you are operating within a 90 per cent-plus vaccinated community.” 

What about unvaccinated travellers?

Mr Ayres said people who are not fully vaccinated will still have to quarantine for two weeks when arriving from overseas.

That quarantine level will be capped at 210 people a week.

What does it mean for Australians overseas?

The decision eliminates the need for travellers to quarantine in a hotel, which has caused tens of thousands of Aussies to become stranded overseas because of strict flight caps.

There are 45,000 registered with DFAT as wanting to get back, with mandatory hotel quarantine starting at $3000.

With the new rules, even seven days of home quarantine, flagged by Prime Minister Scott Morrison a few weeks ago, won’t be needed.

“Returning Australians will naturally be the first cab off the rank. That’s clear and that’s important,” Mr Perrottet said. 

“Whether that’s returning Australians from other states as well, if we can play a role in that, I’m very passionate about doing that.” 

The decision to scrap hotel quarantine will save a single traveller about $3000 and a family about $5000.

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