Almost 600 days after they closed, theAustralia Reopened its borders on Monday, November 1. Fully vaccinated Australian citizens can now enter or leave the country, except in some states where quarantine is still required.
On March 20, 2020, the huge mainland island introduced one of the world’s strictest border closures in order to protect itself from the pandemic Covid-19. Tens of thousands of Australians living abroad have been unable to return home for nineteen months. Flights were scarce and Nationals allowed to return had to undergo an expensive fourteen-day quarantine at the hotel.
Recovery “It took a long time to come”
Australian airline Qantas grounded a large portion of its fleet and its CEO Alan Joyce welcomed the resumption of international flights “It took a long time to come”. “It’s fantastic to see Australians able to reunite with their loved ones after such a long period of separation”He asked.
“It’s a great day for Australia”, Said Prime Minister Scott Morrison, posting a message on Facebook that the country is now “Ready to depart! ».
“I haven’t seen my family in four years”
At Sydney Airport before dawn on Monday, the first passengers to disembark expressed their delight, leading to bitter kissing scenes.
Julie Chu, who returned from the UK, admitted to holding back tears at the time of landing. “I can’t wait to touch my mum’s hand when I see her. I can’t wait to hold her in my arms”, This Australian explained that he returned to see his mother hospitalized. “It’s going to be very emotional”.
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For some, like Lucinda podlero, this reopening comes too late. “I haven’t seen my family for four years, it’s been a year and a half since we tried to get in”She lamented. “I have mixed feelings because I couldn’t see my father alive again. He passed away a week ago (…) But it’s still very good that I can attend his funeral”.
One million foreign residents still stranded
The frequency of flights is expected to gradually resume, although passengers on the first flights are limited. More than a million overseas residents are stranded in Australia, unable to return to see friends or family, with easing measures mainly applying to Australian citizens. Some Australian states where vaccination rates are low will close virtually and a mandatory fourteen-day quarantine will remain in place.
By the way, from November 1, vaccinated tourists can visit Thailand without carrying out quarantine, if they come from all 60 countries “Low risk” Listed by the country’s authorities. The date of November 1 was also chosen by the Israeli government to reopen its borders to tourists vaccinated against covid-19, in the wake of a vaccination campaign in support of booster doses.