Australia and New Zealand inaugurated their air bubble without quarantines on Monday after more than a year of the closure of borders for commercial flights between the two countries decreed to combat the covid-19 pandemic.
The resumption of travel caused numerous emotional reunions in the airports of these countries, which are experiencing a practical normality due to their successful efforts against the pandemic.
Hugs and cries, along with signs that read “Welcome home” or the Maori greeting “Kia ora”, abounded at the Sydney and Auckland airfields, the first to reconnect on a day in which they are expected to move 10,000 passengers on 30 flights.
Heather Lyberopoulos claims that she missed “the funeral and a graduation” of loved ones when she was stranded in Australia due to the closure of the borders, she told the ABC public channel before boarding the first flight to Auckland in Sydney, where she will meet with her sister.
The traveler declared that she feels “a kind of normalcy when returning home” after more than a year.
On the other side of the bubble, a grandmother tearfully stated that she was “very excited” because she was finally able to meet her grandson. “We have waited so long,” the grandmother told New Zealand television TVNZ.
The creation of the air bubble, announced on April 6, marks the first time that Australians can leave the country since March 2020, unlike New Zealanders who since last October could enter Australia without the need for mandatory quarantines, although they did have to spend a period of isolation upon their return.
Both Australia and New Zealand, however, have indicated that they will still maintain the two weeks of isolation in hotels and centers enabled for travelers from other nations.
“It’s a world-leading deal that opens up travel while keeping COVID-19 out of the community,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement. Her New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern told reporters in Wellington that this is “a significant step towards New Zealand’s reconnection with the world.”
OTHER BUBBLES IN VIEW
Both Australia and New Zealand have been living a normal normality for months and their inhabitants can almost travel freely around the country, meet without restrictions and face masks, although these measures can be re-imposed in the event of outbreaks.
The successful management of the pandemic in both countries is mainly due to the drastic closure of their international borders since March last year, as well as the application of rapid confinement measures and the tracking of local infections.
While both Australia and New Zealand are among the slowest nations when it comes to vaccinating their populations. The good situation also allows New Zealand to be close to opening travel bubbles with the Cook Islands and Niue, two Pacific nations that have escaped the pandemic.
For its part, Australia, as declared Monday by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, seeks to resume trips with Singapore and other areas of low risk of contagion such as the Pacific nations.
NO HURRY TO REOPEN BORDERS
These specific opening plans, however, do not mean that both Australia and New Zealand will soon open their entire international borders. Morrison, who is pending the repatriation of some 30,000 Australians stranded abroad, said yesterday that his government “He is not in a hurry to open those borders” to avoid risks.
The Australian president hoped to begin gradually opening his borders once the immunization campaign, originally scheduled for October, was completed, but vaccination has been delayed due to problems in importing the doses, their distribution and fears of side effects. Therefore, some experts believe that international flights will not be normalized until 2024.
For his part, Ardern told Radio New Zealand on Monday that his government will implement “different protocols” depending on the country of origin, insisting that his government aims to have a framework “country by country”.
Since the beginning of the pandamia, New Zealand has accumulated some 2,240 confirmed infections, with 26 deaths, while Australia has so far registered some 29,500 infections, including 909 deaths, most of them due to the outbreak in the city of Melbourne in mid-September. 2020.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.