Anyone flying into Sydney from midnight on July 18 will have to foot the bill for their 14-day stay in hotel quarantine.
International travellers arriving in Sydney will be forced to pay for their compulsory two-week hotel quarantine from Saturday – a bill that would cost a family of four $5,000.
From midnight on July 18, travellers arriving at Sydney Airport will be charged $3,000 for one adult, $1,000 for each additional adult and $500 per child aged three and over.
The new charges mean a family of two parents and two children aged over three will be slugged $5,000 for their 14-day stay in a designated quarantine hotel, covering the cost of meals and accommodation.
Only those who bought plane tickets before midnight tonight (July 12) will avoid the charges, although there will be hardship arrangements for anyone who cannot pay.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) said the state accounts for more than two-thirds of arrivals into Australia, so it was only fair those people start to share the cost burden with taxpayers.
“Australian residents have been given plenty of time to return home, and we feel it is only fair that they cover some of the costs of their hotel accommodation,” she said.
“If you have waited three or four months to make that decision (to return home) you’ll now have to pay some of that cost yourself.”
The Queensland Government has already announced plans to charge international travellers arriving in that state $2,800 dollars for their 14-day hotel stay.
Between March and June, more than 81,000 passengers arrived into Australia by air, including more than 39,000 who flew directly into Australia’s biggest city, Sydney.
More than 25,000 people have been quarantined in Sydney since March 28, many in luxury hotels like the Hilton, the InterContinental and the Swissotel.
Despite the five-star digs, many arrivals complained of “prison like” conditions, bland food and a lack of fresh air, which made them a laughing stock on social media (above).
To date, hotel quarantine has cost the NSW government more than $65 million – well above previous estimates of $16 million.
The latest move comes after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed overseas arrivals would be reduced to 4,000 each week, less than half the current number, in a bid to clamp down on community transmission of COVID-19.
Australia had 9,553 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (July 12), with the biggest number in the state of Victoria (3,799).
© 2020 BERNARD O’RIORDAN (TRAVEL INSTINCT). ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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