Sydney (CNN) – Sydney will end its Covid-19 quarantined for fully vaccinated international travelers from November 1, New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Friday, October 15, a prediction that foreign travel will return after more than 19 months.
Australia closed its international borders in March 2020 in response to the pandemic, allowing almost exclusively entry for citizens and permanent residents who must undergo a mandatory two-week hotel quarantine at their own expense.
“We want people back, we are leading the nation out of the pandemic … we are opening up Sydney and New South Wales to the world,” Perrottet told reporters in Sydney, the state capital.
The Federal Government’s reopening plans presented in July proposed abolishing restrictions on returning vaccinated Australians and a gradual resumption of international travel with safe countries when the full vaccination rate reaches 80%.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office was not immediately available to comment on the New South Wales plan.
New South Wales is expected to reach 80% full vaccination levels in the adult population this weekend, while the rest of the country will take at least a few weeks to reach that level.
The transition to open borders comes as daily infections in New South Wales eased further to 399 from 406 on October 14, well below the state’s pandemic height of 1,599 in early September.
The neighboring state of Victoria reported 2,179 new locally acquired cases, the majority in Melbourne, down from a record 2,297 a day earlier.
Australia had remained largely virus-free for most of this year until a third wave of infections driven by the Delta variant spread across its southeast from the end of June, forcing a month-long lockdown in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
The country’s total coronavirus numbers are still relatively low, with around 139,000 cases and 1,506 deaths.