Australian states to relax quarantine regulations

New South Wales: Despite an increase in new Covid-19 cases, the Australian states of New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, the country's two major entry ports, will relax quarantine rules for international visitors.

Fully vaccinated international travellers and flight crew arriving in Sydney and Melbourne will no longer require a 72-hour quarantine beginning December 21. According to an announcement from the two states, they will instead be required to get a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival and isolate until they receive a negative result. They must also present a negative pre-departure test within three days of flying.

On Saturday, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the announcement simplifies the process and ensures that Australia's two largest cities take a consistent approach. All international visitors aged 18 and up who arrive in the two states from other countries and are not fully vaccinated must still enter a 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine. "This decision was made with safety as the top priority, which is why all arrivals must return a negative PCR test before they can exit isolation and have another test," he explained.

At the same time, the most populous state, New South Wales, is seeing a steady increase in Covid-19 cases. Out of 137,149 tests, NSW recorded 2,482 new cases and one death on Saturday, another record-high daily increase since the pandemic outbreak early last year.

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