Marty Melville / AFP via Getty Images
On Monday, Australia and New Zealand launched a forward-looking travel bubble that would allow residents of each country to visit more countries without quarantine upon arrival.
The long-awaited emotional video gathering of the long-awaited reunions in arrivals halls at airports across Australia and New Zealand has been published online since the first passenger touched it. Thousands of people reportedly made their way across the Tasman Sea on the first day of the bubble launch.
Traveler Mark Carrington told Australia’s Seven Network he felt “amazing” after landing in Sydney.
“It’s been almost two years and I haven’t seen my partner during that time, so it’s very difficult,” he said.
Before she flew to New Zealand, traveler Denise O’Donoughue told AFP she felt like the world was back to normal.
“From now on, I don’t know. But I’m just very excited about today, ‘she said.
So far, New Zealand has required travelers from Australia to quarantine upon their arrival. Most Australian states lifted the requirement late last year.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters on Monday the Australia-New Zealand bubble was an important step in bringing New Zealand back to normalcy.
“The meaning of the bubble for each of us personally. But what’s important is what our economy means and how it is recovering, ”she said.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters the bubble was a boon for both countries that rely heavily on mutual tourism. New Zealand government data show that approximately 1.5 million Australians visited New Zealand in 2019, accounting for about 40% of all visitors and spent nearly $ 2 billion. And about 1.3 million New Zealanders visited Australia that year, accounting for about 15% of all Australian visitors.
The deal came months after both New Zealand and Australia closed borders from most tourists last spring. Compared to other countries, the two avoid the worst viruses.
Australia had 29,543 infections and 910 deaths, while New Zealand had just 2,596 and 26 deaths from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
However, the launch of the vaccine in both countries has been relatively slow to start.
The new journey bubble is not without rules. For example, residents cannot leave the country within 14 days and must not have COVID symptoms prior to departure. They still have to wear masks on their flights.
Jennifer Nuzzo, of the Johns Hopkins Center for Healthcare, said that while the travel bubble was moving towards normalcy. But it’s not a risk
“Permission to enter and leave the country is not zero, and we’ve seen this in the most extreme in Australia, where there are many groups that may be involved in travel,” she told NPR. Both countries will see clusters here and there. But until now, they have shown a commitment to respond when it happens. “
Nuzzo said it is difficult to create similar travel bubbles in countries like the United States as both Australia and New Zealand are more geographically separated.
Throughout the epidemic, plans for the international and city travel bubble were discussed, including one in the Baltic states that began, stopped and started again over the last year. Elsewhere in the Pacific, Taiwan and Palau launched a non-quarantine travel bubble earlier this month.