The new border rules sparked by omicron

The omicron variant of COVID-19 has pushed some states to bring in extra restrictions on overseas arrivals, or even tighten rules for arrivals from other states that have relaxed or reopened international borders.

Arrivals from nine African countries, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique must undergo 14 days quarantine under federal guidelines.

The new restrictions come after NSW, Victoria and the ACT recently ended hotel quarantine for international arrivals.

NSW

Overseas arrivals from the nine select African countries must enter hotel quarantine for 14 days regardless of their vaccination status, while all other overseas arrivals must isolate at home or their accommodation for 72 hours.

Premier Dominic Perrottet has called for states to implement a uniform response to omicron. He said there won’t be a return to blanket hotel quarantine requirements.

Western Australia

The state still requires all overseas arrivals to enter hotel quarantine for 14 days.

Fears of the omicron strain led WA to reimpose border restrictions on South Australians over the weekend after it reported several new local cases.

Victoria

One of the country’s jurisdictions worst hit by COVID-19 joined NSW and the ACT in closing its international borders to people from the handful of African countries, with all arrivals required to enter a fortnight of hotel quarantine.

As of Monday afternoon, authorities were still investigating a possible case of the omicron variant.

South Australia

Having just loosened some of its international and interstate border restrictions a week ago, South Australia was back tightening the screws.

International arrivals from “high-risk” countries will now need to undergo 14 days quarantine, up from the easing to seven days last Tuesday. Interstate arrivals from “low risk” locations like Melbourne or Sydney need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entering South Australia.

Queensland

The Sunshine State still requires overseas travellers to undergo hotel quarantine for 14 days.

Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken told reporters on Sunday there were no plans to change the state’s reopening road map in reaction to the omicron variant yet.

Tasmania

The Apple Isle has flagged no changes yet as its international borders remain closed. It also remains effectively shut off to the rest of the country, save for Queensland and Western Australia.

ACT

The bush capital acted with Victoria and NSW to force arrivals from the African countries of concern into 14 days of hotel quarantine.

Any other arrivals from overseas since November 27 must quarantine at home until 11:59pm Tuesday, along with anyone else at their house. They will need to get three COVID-19 tests, one within 24 hours of arrival in Australia, and then one on day five and day six.

Northern Territory

The Top End recorded its first omicron case on Monday, the nation’s third confirmed infection of the new variant, predating the two cases reported in NSW over the weekend.

Regardless, it has not yet made any changes to its interstate or international arrivals rules. International arrivals on government chartered flights must undergo quarantine at Howard Springs for 14 days, while others can do seven days of home quarantine.

Commonwealth

The federal government shut the border to the nine African countries on Saturday and suspended flights for a fortnight.

Citizens and residents who arrived from there are required to do 14 days quarantine, while non-citizens are banned.

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