Australians together again as border reopens after 20-month ban

Australians together again as border reopens after 20-month ban

Australians together again after 20 months of lockdown. The scenes at Sydney’s international airport came alive with tears, embraces and laughter on Monday as Australia’s border opened for the first time in 20 months, with some arriving travellers tearing away mandatory masks to see faces of loved ones they’ve been separated from for so long.

“Just being able to come home without having to go to quarantine is huge,” Carly Boyd, a passenger who had travelled from New York, told reporters at Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith Airport, where Peter Allen’s unofficial national anthem “I Still Call Australia Home” was playing.

“There’s a lot of people on that flight who have loved ones who are about to die or have people who died this week. So for them to be able to get off the plane and go see them straight away is pretty amazing,” Boyd added.

Australians together again as border reopens

The new freedoms mean that Australians together again and any outbound fully vaccinated Australian permanent residents and citizens can leave the country for any reason without asking the government for an exemption from a travel ban that has trapped most at home since March 25, 2020.

Australia is betting that vaccination rates are now high enough to mitigate the danger of allowing international visitors again after maintaining some of the lengthiest and strictest border controls anywhere during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thailand, too, was reopening its border Monday. Fully vaccinated tourists arriving by air from 46 countries and territories no longer have to quarantine and can move freely. And local restrictions such as a curfew in some areas were being lifted.

Before the pandemic, Sydney was Australia’s busiest international airport but until Monday had been almost deserted.

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