Cap on international arrivals introduced at Sydney Airport to ease coronavirus quarantine demands

| 04.07,20. 07:43 PM |

Cap on international arrivals introduced at Sydney Airport to ease coronavirus quarantine demands

Passengers have been warned that flights coming into Sydney may be cancelled.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has warned that international flights to Sydney over the coming weeks will be subject to a cap on arrivals and flights could be cancelled.

It follows a ban announced earlier this week on international flights coming into Melbourne to ease hotel quarantine demands in Victoria.

Now at the request of the NSW Government, new Federal Government limits will be introduced from midnight tonight.

NSW Health said overseas arrivals will be capped at 450 passengers a day, with a maximum of 50 passengers allowed per incoming flight.

DFAT's Smartraveller guidance has warned of "pressure" on Sydney's quarantine facilities.

"If you're scheduled to fly into Sydney in the coming days and weeks, confirm your itinerary and onward travel plans with your airline," it said.

In a statement, NSW Health said it was critical that hotel quarantining was "not stretched to breaking point".

Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said: "The Commonwealth Government has heard the NSW message that we need to ensure the system is sustainable".

NSW Health said that now the Victorian and Queensland governments have begun charging for hotel quarantine, some travellers were choosing to head to NSW instead for their quarantine.

It came as NSW Health reported six new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8:00pm on Friday.

Five are returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

The sixth case is an 18-year-old male student from Green Point Christian College on the Central Coast.

The health authority said it was a past infection and not an active case.

The Australian High Commission in the United Kingdom reported that the cap will be in place for two weeks until July 17.

"This will mean some flights may no longer be viable and therefore will not operate."

It has advised passengers to check with their airlines.

Social media users expressed frustration over a lack of information and airlines were not aware of the move.

The Australian High Commission responded that it would offer more information when it could.

"We certainly understand the frustration and when we have further information we will post it as soon as we can," it said.

International flights from 14 different airlines have landed in Sydney since yesterday morning.

The largest aircraft to fly into Sydney was the Emirates Boeing 777-300. It usually carries between 354 to 427 passengers, depending on the configuration.

Mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine was introduced on March 29.

NSW Police said 32,036 travellers had entered quarantine to date.

It said 500 officers and 150 Australian Defence Force personnel were monitoring guests across 22 hotels.

More than 5,000 people were in hotel quarantine on Friday.

Since quarantine was introduced, 113 symptomatic travellers have tested positive.

Another 85 out of 14,015 asymptomatic travellers tested on day 10 of quarantine — testing which is now mandatory — were confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Testing is now also required on day two of quarantine.

NSW Health announced on Saturday the 189 Ruby Princess crew members who were confirmed COVID-19 cases had been included in the overall NSW cases.

The numbers had previously been omitted.

"These cases will be reported as Australian cases to the World Health Organization as part of the Australian Government's international reporting obligations," a NSW spokesperson said.

"The cases were reported by NSW Health in media releases at the time of diagnosis, but were not included in NSW figures as they were on board the ship and not in NSW when diagnosed."

NSW Health has also confirmed that a passenger on an XPT train arriving at Sydney's Central Station has been taken to hospital after reporting "influenza-like symptoms".

The passenger was from regional NSW, not Victoria.


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