Australia reopens borders after 18 months of the COVID-19 quarantine
The Australian government had come up with one of the toughest responses to the pandemic, shutting down its international borders 18 months ago.
International flights from Singapore and Los Angeles, USA were first to land in Sydney.
Some 1,500 passengers were expected to fly into Sydney and Melbourne during the first day of eased restrictions
Fully vaccinated Australian citizens have been greenlighted by Australia’s government authorities to travel abroad freely without a special permit or the need to quarantine on arrival, starting November 1.
The country has relaxed its severe international border restrictions today, allowing many families to reunite after almost 600 days apart and prompting emotional scenes at airports in Sydney and Melbourne.
The move comes as much of Australia switches from the so-called COVID-zero pandemic-management strategy to living with the virus amid a large-scale vaccination drive. Over 77% of those 16 and older in the country of 25.9 million have received both shots of the jab so far, the health ministry said.
The Australian government had come up with one of the toughest responses to the pandemic, shutting down its international borders 18 months ago. Both citizens and foreign travelers have been barred from entering or exiting the country without an exemption. The move separated families and friends, leaving many Australians unable to attend important events, weddings or funerals.
Early on Monday, the flights from Singapore and Los Angeles were first to land in Sydney, Australia. Arriving passengers said that their journey was “a little bit scary and exciting” and described the final feeling of being able to return home after all this time as “surreal.”