Australian states further ease border curbs

People line up to enter a grocery store before an impending lockdown due to an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brisbane, Australia

Western Australia (WA) authorities on Saturday announced that the state will reopen its border to New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland from Monday as they have continued to record zero locally acquired Covid-19 cases.

Travellers from NSW and Queensland, two of Australia’s most populous states, could enter WA but still need to get into self-quarantine for 14 days in a suitable premise and be prepared for possible test at the airport clinic and during the quarantine, reports Xinhua news agency.

NSW and Queensland were kept out of WA’s border after concerning Covid situation recorded in the two states.

NSW witnessed reappearance of locally acquired cases and small case clusters shortly before Christmas last year while the mutant strain of virus found in Britain was detected in a local case in Queensland earlier this month.

“WA’s careful and cautious approach has stood us in good stead and our controlled border arrangements have kept us safe allowing for swift action to stop the virus in its tracks,” state Premier Mark McGowan said.

At the same time, Australia’s biggest city of Sydney, also capital of NSW, was also reviewed as less risky by the neighbouring states of Victoria and Australian Capital Territory, which allowed travellers from Greater Sydney to enter from Friday afternoon except the Cumberland local government area in west Sydney where a local cluster originated.

Queensland and South Australia still keep their borders closed to Greater Sydney while Queensland said it will review the border rule on January 28.

All Australian states and territories on Saturday recorded zero locally acquired cases.

However, as for the international border, Australia started applying stricter rules from Friday which require international travellers to have a Covid test negative results within 72 hours before boarding a flight and face masks are mandatory on international flights and in airports

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