SYDNEY — Australia’s largest city, Sydney, lifted quarantine restrictions on travelers from New Zealand on Friday while the second largest city, Melbourne, marked the 100th day of one of the world’s longest pandemic lockdowns.
More than 350 passengers were scheduled to take three flights from Auckland on Friday and will not have to undergo hotel quarantine on arrival in Sydney.
New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “This is great news for tourism. It’s also great news for family reunification and grateful businesses.”
New Zealand will continue to insist that travelers from Australia quarantine in hotels for 14 days on arrival.
The Victoria state government has resisted pressure from businesses and the federal government to relax a second lockdown that began when stay-at-home orders took effect in Melbourne on July 9.
Victoria recorded only two new COVID-19 cases in the latest 24-hour period. The state last recorded such a low number on June 8, with daily tallies peaking at 725 on Aug. 5.
Victoria Premier Dan Andrews said he will announce on Sunday conservative plans to relax Melbourne’s lockdown.
“The decisions on Sunday will be conservative because this is a wildly infectious virus,” Andrews told reporters. “These are some of the most difficult decisions that I’ve made in 20 years in public life.”
New South Wales on Friday reported five new cases in Sydney, including four who were infected overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.