The number of overseas arrivals flying into Sydney Airport has been further reduced, as the NSW government looks to ease the potential of further pressure on the state health department.
As of today, a total of 350 passengers will be permitted to disembark their international flights at the airport each day.
The move comes just weeks after NSW capped arrivals to Sydney Airport at 450 passengers, following the decision by Victoria to suspend international arrivals to the state in a bid to ease pressure on its under-review hotel quarantine system.
However, it also comes amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus cases across NSW, with the state health authority reporting 62 locally acquired cases in the week to Saturday.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the latest move would be an important measure to ensure returning arrivals do not overrun the capacity of NSW Health and the state’s hotel quarantine.
“NSW is the gateway to Australia and it is important that passengers returning home do not overrun the capacity of NSW Health and hotel quarantine,” the Premier said in a statement.
“The people of NSW have done an excellent job putting us in the position we are in today; however, we must not let our guard down and this decision will further help keep us safe.”
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the reduced cap will help the management of hotel quarantine and assist NSW in firing up the economy.
“The people, businesses and industries of NSW can only operate in this ‘new normal’ if we effectively reduce the spread of COVID-19, and further limiting the cap on returning travellers will help ensure this,” Minister Ayres said.
“Australian’s have been given plenty of time to return from overseas, and it is incredibly important the volume of returning travellers does not undo the great work of the people of NSW.”
Furthermore, travellers now arriving in Sydney will be required to foot the bill of their hotel quarantine stay, at the cost of $3,500 for an individual and $5,000 for a family of two adults and two children.
Restrictions tightened for entry to NSW from Victoria
Meanwhile, the state has also introduced further restrictions for arrivals from Victoria, including a new border zone along the Murray River and tightened permit conditions.
“The growing rates of community transmission in Victoria have us on high alert and the health advice clearly indicates we need to have stricter border closures in place, making it harder to get a permit and easier to cancel them,” state Health Minister Brad Hazzard said in a statement.
Hazzard’s comments come as Victoria continues to battle a second wave of coronavirus infections, with the state’s health authority reporting 363 new cases on Sunday.
Of the 2,837 COVID-19 cases that remain active across Victoria, 1,028 may indicate community transmission, the state Health and Human Services department reported.
Taking effect from midnight Tuesday, the new border zone will restrict entry to NSW from Victoria to “extremely limited purposes”, with border residents under the new permit required to self-isolate for 14 days if they go further than the border zone.
Any other NSW resident who crosses the river, enters Victoria or has been there in the last 14 days will also need to isolate for a fortnight.
In other news around Australia, Western Australia will implement tougher restrictions on travellers arriving from NSW. The state’s quarantine exemption list has shrunken to only include senior government officials, certain active military personnel, and federal MPs and their staff.
Anyone outside of this list will continue to be required to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine period.
Travellers caught lying at Queensland border could face jail time
In the northeast of the country, border measures have been hardened significantly.
People now caught breaching Queensland’s coronavirus health restrictions could face a six-month jail sentence, following the passing of new legislation that introduced harsher penalties for flouting the rules.
State Health Minister Steven Miles told the press that the prison sentence could be imposed by the courts in serious cases of people flouting the state’s public health directions.
“We take the health of Queenslanders very seriously and our public health directions are in place to limit any potential spread of COVID-19,” Miles said.
“Queenslanders are working hard in following restrictions and health advice.
“We don’t want to see all our hard work undone, and we are very serious about enforcing our public health directions.”
The increased penalty followed several people trying to illegally enter Queensland, after having been in areas designated as COVID-19 hotspots, ABC News reported.
The prison penalty will sit alongside already fines of up to $13,345 for people and businesses caught breaking the rules in the state.
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