Tue, 07 Dec 2021

SYDNEY, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) with Sydney as the capital city will end COVID-19 hotel quarantine requirements for people entering the state from Nov. 1.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said people would only need to test for the disease before boarding a flight and they would also need to show proof of full vaccination.

"For double vaccinated people around the world, Sydney, NSW, is open for business," he told a press conference on Friday.

He also announced that restrictions on the number of visitors to homes, outdoor gatherings and hospitality venues would be eased on Oct. 18 for people who had been fully vaccinated.

However, travel restrictions between the capital city of Sydney and regional areas are to remain in place until Nov. 1.

"We have made a decision today, and I know for many it will be unpopular, but as premier, I believe it is the right decision, and that is to defer regional travel from Greater Sydney," Perrottet said.

His announcement came as NSW health authorities reported 91.4 percent of people aged 16 and over have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 77.8 percent were fully vaccinated.

The authorities also reported 399 new locally acquired cases and four deaths in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. local time Thursday.

Meanwhile, the disease continues to rage throughout the state of Victoria, which recorded its second consecutive day of new cases topping 2,000.

Health authorities on Friday reported 2,179 new local cases, largely around the state capital of Melbourne, meaning there are now 21,324 active cases in Victoria.

There were also six related deaths, bringing the overall tally to 131 since the Victorian outbreak began about 10 weeks ago.

Despite the alarming figures, Victorian leaders remain determined to ease some of the lockdown restrictions once the state's fully vaccinated rate reaches 70 percent.

According to latest figures, 87.15 percent of eligible Victorians have received their first dose of vaccine, while the full vaccination rate is at 62.65 percent.

At that rate, the state is expected to reach its 70 percent vaccination target on Oct. 22.

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