covid-19 victoria melbourne holiday inn
(Image: AAP/Luis Ascui)

New COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine are at long-time lows, puncturing the government's weak justification for halving Australia's cap on returning travellers.

NSW Health's latest COVID-19 weekly surveillance report, released on Wednesday, shows that the past six weeks have seen a declining number of confirmed cases in arriving travellers. As the state is the destination of most arrivals, the figures provide the largest data set available for understanding hotel quarantine trends. 

The surveillance report shows that in the five weeks to June 26, there were 77 cases testing positive in hotel quarantine in NSW. The previous week’s report shows that numbers detected from screening travellers on arrival have similarly fallen, from a peak of about 14 in every thousand in early May, to one or two in every thousand now.