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NSW COVID restrictions relaxed for face masks, QR codes, density limits, NSW COVID cases grow, Victoria COVID cases grow, Omicron variant cases grow, Tasmanian border goes reopen, the WA border will reopen

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NSW has aligned quarantine requirements for people arriving from eight southern African countries with other international arrivals.

All fully vaccinated international arrivals to NSW must self-isolate for 72 hours and be tested for COVID-19 within the first 24 hours of arrival. They can leave isolation when 72 hours have passed and they test negative.

Chief Medical Officer of New South Wales, Dr Kerry Chant. Credit:Kate geraghty

In a statement last night, NSW Health said fully vaccinated arrivals from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini and Malawi will no longer have to go into quarantine. 14 days.

Fully vaccinated people from the countries listed above who are already quarantined at hotels in New South Wales, as of today, will need to stay there until at least 72 hours after arrival.

NSW Health advised those arrivals to avoid high-risk environments for seven days and take an additional PCR test on day six.

“NSW Health also strongly encourages all international arrivals to undergo another test 12 days after arrival,” said Kerry Chant, NSW chief health officer.

Earlier this week, Victoria dropped the 14-day hotel quarantine for these arrivals.

In late November, countries imposed travel bans or additional restrictions on countries in southern Africa after scientists reported the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera accused Western countries of “afrophobia”, while South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called on countries to “immediately and urgently reverse their decisions before further damage” is suffered – socially and economically.

The South African Foreign Office, meanwhile, said that “excellent science [i.e. detecting the Omicron strain] must be applauded and not punished ”.