Australia eases restrictions for Sydney residents as COVID outbreak comes under control

South Australia and Queensland reopened their borders to the neighbouring state of New South Wales (NSW) after it managed to control a Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney.

The states will remove the restrictions on Sunday and Monday respectively.

It comes after NSW reported 11 days without a locally acquired infection.

About 180 cases were tied to the Sydney cluster, which emerged just before Christmas and prompted nationwide travel bans on the city’s residents.

“Credit to New South Wales. They got on top of their cases,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Thursday.

Australia has recorded more than 22,000 cases and 909 deaths since the pandemic began – far fewer than many other countries.

In recent months in particular, the nation has taken swift and aggressive actions to contain outbreaks at their source.

Earlier this month, the Queensland capital Brisbane completed a three-day lockdown over the detection of a single case.

Currently, only Western Australia maintains a 14-day quarantine requirement for people visiting from NSW.

From Friday, limits on group gatherings in Sydney will also be eased. Face masks will also no longer be mandatory in retail shops but will still be required on public transport.

This week, Australia also suspended a travel bubble with New Zealand after its first Covid case in months was confirmed to be a more contagious variant.