Thousands of travelers arrived at Sydney International Airport Monday after Australia opened its border following 590 days of COVID lockdowns.
For the first time, vaccinated arrivals no longer have to quarantine before being allowed into the country.
“It marks the first time in a grueling 590 days that some families have been reunited after international borders were closed in March 2020,” reports the Dailymail. “Under the change to international travel, fully vaccinated passengers won’t have to quarantine in a hotel or at home, paving the way for Australians stranded overseas to be able to come home for Christmas.”
“Our daughter is flying in from Spain with our granddaughter — we haven’t seen her since 2019,” said one local. “Her flights kept getting cancelled, but she was lucky because she would have had to go into quarantine.”
Australia deployed some of the strictest anti-COVID measures in the world during the pandemic, including the use of soldiers to enforce shutdown orders in Sydney and the surrounding suburbs.
Authorities in the Australian State of Victoria also eased COVID restrictions in Melbourne on Oct. 29.
Residents can now:
- Venture outside without a face covering.
- The fully vaccinated can return to their place of employment.
- Gyms can open but are subject to capacity limits.
- Entertainment venues can operate at 75% capacity.
- According to the Guardian, the state of Victoria will lift nearly all remaining restrictions around Nov. 24.
Read the full report at the Dailymail.