This is a translation of an article written by Tiara. You can also read this article in Bahasa Indonesia.
The long awaited travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand has officially begun on 19 April 2021, and it is the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began when residents from both countries are allowed to cross international borders without undergoing mandatory quarantine. It marks a significant milestone for Australia and New Zealand after closing their borders for 400 days.
Heartwarming scenes were captured in various arrival halls, one of which includes Auckland Airport in New Zealand where families gathered at the arrivals gate to welcome their loved ones. As soon as Australian passengers poured in, family members were overwhelmed with emotions as they embraced - one of which includes a family who has been separated for nearly 15 months due to the pandemic.
More heartwarming reunions were seen at Wellington Airport in New Zealand where the local authorities wrote a massive welcome sign on the airport runway. To mark this joyous reunion, Air New Zealand even treats every adult passenger with a glass of wine. According to AP News, Air New Zealand operated two to three flights between New Zealand and Australia during the pandemic, but it increased up to 30 flights as soon as the travel bubble was announced.
AP News also shared a quote from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who welcomed the travel bubble as a pivotal move for both countries. “The bubble marks a significant step in both countries’ reconnection with the world and it’s one we should all take a moment to be very proud of,” she said. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison echoed a similar sentiment and said, “Today’s milestone is a win-win for Australians and New Zealanders, boosting our economies while keeping our people safe."
Both Australia and New Zealand have been successful in overcoming the pandemic by temporarily shutting their international borders and implementing a mandatory quarantine for passengers arriving from countries with rising COVID-19 cases. In 2020, Australia had allowed New Zealanders to enter the borders without undergoing mandatory quarantine, but the New Zealand government requires Australians to undergo quarantine when entering their country.
It may be awhile until we can travel safely and reunite with our family overseas, but let's remain hopeful that better days are on its way as long as we persevere through the pandemic together.