If you’re booked or planning a trip to Australia over the Christmas or New Year season, or even into 2022, there’s some good news with both New South Wales and Victoria states set to relax their arrival self-isolation requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.
From Tuesday 21st December 2021, arriving passengers will simply be required to take a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival (many options are free of charge, even for overseas visitors).
They will then be free to exit self-isolation and enjoy their visit once a negative result is received.
The announcement was made as part of a joint policy by the two state governments, designed to harmonise the rules for international travellers flying into both Sydney and Melbourne.
The Australian states of New South Wales (Sydney) and Victoria (Melbourne) both opened to fully vaccinated Singapore Citizens (note: not Permanent Residents or pass holders at this stage) on 21st November 2021, but imposed their 72-hour self-isolation rule on arrival just a week later, from 28th November 2021.
“International travelers and aircrew arriving in Sydney and Melbourne will no longer need to isolate for 72 hours, with New South Wales and Victoria agreeing to introduce consistent COVID-19 requirements for people arriving from overseas.”New South Wales Government
For most people, that will mean being restricted to their home or hotel room only for around 12-24 hours (despite some stated test result turnaround times of up to 48 hours).
Currently, all fully vaccinated international arrivals in both New South Wales and Victoria have to get a test as soon as possible and isolate for 72 hours, regardless of when they receive their negative test result, so this new requirement from 21st December should cut the self-isolation time by around two-thirds.
Both states will also continue to impose an additional post-arrival test, however, to be taken on Day 6 after arrival in New South Wales and between Day 5 and Day 7 after arrival in Victoria (arrival day is Day 0).
“This decision has been made with safety remaining the top priority, which is why all arrivals must return a negative PCR test before they can exit isolation and have an additional test following that.”Dominic Perrottet, New South Wales Premier
The relaxation comes as both states exceed their 90% vaccination targets for adults, with 93% achieved in New South Wales and 92% in Victoria.
Unfortunately if you arrive in either of these states prior to 21st December 2021, you will continue to face the current 72-hour self-isolation requirement.
Unvaccinated travellers aged 18 and over will continue to serve 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine.
New Singapore – Australia process
Here’s the new process when travelling from Singapore to Australia (NSW / VIC) with arrival on or after 21st December 2021:
- PCR test within 72 hours of flight departure time (find the cheapest)
- Complete the Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before flight departure
- PCR test within 24 hours of arrival
- Self-isolation until negative test result received (home / hotel room)
- PCR test on Day 6 (NSW) or between Day 5 and Day 7 (VIC)
Full information on international arrival requirements from both states, which has NOT yet been updated to reflect this new relaxation, will be available at the following links:
Western Australia is also opening its border quarantine-free to fully vaccinated international travellers from 5th February 2022, however full details of any self-isolation requirement following the mandatory on-arrival PCR test have not yet been confirmed.
Great news for those with Australia travel plans, or for Aussies in Singapore returning home, with a much lighter self-isolation ‘sentence’ from 21st December 2021.
Most people who can grab a test shortly after landing (here’s a 7am – 8pm option at Sydney Airport) should be able to exit their isolation period within 24 hours.
This makes leisure trips to Sydney and Melbourne worth considering again for many who may have thought against it due to the longer 72-hour arrival isolation requirement.
It’s certainly nice to see a relaxation coming through, given most reactions of impending doom over the Omicron variant, and this one comes just in time for the busy Christmas and New Year break for many families.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)