One important factor is set to derail NSW’s plans to allow people to enter the state without mandatory quarantine, one expert has pointed out.
Australia’s plans to open up to the rest of the world without mandatory quarantine from November 1 may be derailed by one crucial factor.
New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet announced Friday the state would allow fully vaccinated overseas travellers to enter without having to complete hotel or home quarantine from November 1.
However, infectious diseases expert Professor Peter Collignon of Australian National University said a more nuanced approach may be necessary as the northern hemisphere enters winter, which will make it easier for Covid-19 to spread.
“We are expecting an increase in cases in places like America because it’s going to be winter — and there are still a lot of unvaccinated people,” he said.
“We are expecting numbers to go up in December, January and February.”
Prof Collignon said this could mean travellers coming from overseas during this time would likely be coming from countries that had higher rates of Covid infection than in Australia, which is heading into summer.
“At the moment the risk is not that high compared to local transmission (of Covid) because they are at the end of summer and we are coming into our summer, but during their winter that may change again.
“What we don’t want is returned travellers being at higher risk than the local community.”
Prof Collignon said it may become necessary to quarantine some travellers, depending on what part of the world they were coming from, the stains of Covid circulating there and how much disease was circulating.
“I think we should have a graduated nuanced approach with would involve home quarantine and vaccination status,” he said.
On Friday, NSW Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres explained why the state would not introduce home quarantine, pointing to the resources needed to monitor people.
He said there was no reason why health, police or other staff should be taken away from frontline duties to monitor people – who have exactly the same vaccination status as 90 per cent of people in NSW.
However, Prof Collignon believes NSW may need to reconsider home quarantine.
“I think we need to relax the rules but it’s not all or nothing, there can be a graduation of all that we do,” he said.
“We don’t want to rush these things because we’ve got to see how things play out in the northern hemisphere.
“We can’t make hard and fast rules, we’ve got to be adaptable.”
Source: News AU