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WA confirms it will reopen borders as NSW eases raft of coronavirus restrictions

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The welcome news comes as NSW notches up 24 consecutive days without a single locally transmitted coronavirus case.

Virgin Australia flights from Victoria and NSW Queensland were near capacity on Tuesday and thousands of travellers are booked to travel to the Sunshine State this week.

Thousands of Jetstar and Qantas passengers from Sydney and Victoria will also jet into Queensland for the first time since August.

Almost 9000 passengers are booked to travel on Tuesday for long-awaited reunions with family and friends as well as holidays.

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More than 1200 Qantas and Jetstar team members would return to work in December as a result of the Queensland borders re-opening, Qantas said.

From Tuesday the two airlines will operate more than 420 return flights per week between Queensland and both Sydney and Melbourne.

Meanwhile, people in NSW are now allowed up to 50 visitors in their homes – up from 20 – as long as there is an outside area available. Otherwise numbers shouldn’t exceed 30 guests.

Fifty people – up from 30 – can also now gather in public spaces.

Hospitality venues up to 200 square metres can now have one person per two square metres indoors and outdoor religious services and gatherings of up to 500 people are allowed.

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Pubs and small bars across NSW will be able to use footpaths and public spaces for alfresco dining.

The trial that had breathed life back into The Rocks and Darling Harbour will be made available to all of NSW, with streamlined alfresco dining approvals available from Tuesday.

NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said there were five COVID-19 cases diagnosed in returned overseas travellers in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.

Testing numbers have dipped significantly as the state weathers a heat wave, with only 6635 people tested on Monday.

“Though restrictions are easing in NSW today, now is not the time to be complacent,” NSW Health’s Dr McAnulty said.

Testing numbers dipped significantly in NSW as the state battled a heatwave over the weekend.

AAP

Meanwhile, NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay has joined religious leaders in calling for a change to the two square metre rule in places of worship and an end to the ban on congregational singing and chanting.

“It’s been a challenging and difficult year and religious worship provides an anchor for many in times of adversity and isolation,” Ms McKay said on Tuesday.

“The current restrictions are unfair and it’s taking a toll on people of faith.

“Forty thousand people were allowed to attend the footy grand final and 11,000 the Everest horse race but there is still a maximum of 300 people for some of the most important religious gatherings.

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“People are allowed to sing at karaoke bars and concerts but only five people can sing carols in a church. It doesn’t make sense,” she said.

Up to 30 choristers are allowed to sing together outdoors and anyone participating in the singing, whether in the choir or audience 12 or older, must wear a mask.

Up to 3000 people can attend an outdoor concert and 300 can now attend funerals.

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