For months Kiwis and Australians have been cooped up at home waiting for the day they’d be able to cross the ditch to see loved ones.
Today, New Zealand and Australia’s quarantine-free travel bubble became the envy of the world.
Those watching from around the globe were in awe of both nations’ ability to stop Covid-19 and open the borders to one another.
The move proved so momentous, it has made international headlines, including on the front page of the BBC.
TEARFUL REUNIONS AS TRAVEL BUBBLE OPENS – BBC
The BBC dialled in on the sacrifice Kiwis and Australians have made and how some have missed out on mourning loved ones they have lost on the other side of the ditch.
“While many buzzed with the anticipation of seeing loved ones, for others it was a more sombre occasion,” the BBC wrote.
“My older brother’s passed away last week on Thursday, we couldn’t get there last week, but it’s given us an opportunity to go back home today without quarantine so it’s good, very good to go and lay him to rest,” John Palalagi told the BBC in Sydney.
HUGS, TEARS, HOPE FOR NORMALITY – AL JAZEERA
Middle Eastern news agency Al Jazeera called the travel bubble a “hope for normality” and shared the excitement of travellers able to resume relative normal life again.
“Australia was New Zealand’s largest source of international tourists before the pandemic, accounting for about 1.5 million arrivals or 40 per cent of total visitors in 2019,” they reported.
They reported more than half a million Kiwis live in Australia, equating to more than 2 per cent of their population.
Al Jazeera said emotions were high for travellers, reporting a keen passenger saying “[I’ll] yell, scream cry, hug, kiss, [feel] happy – all of these emotions at once.”
BUBBLE BRINGS RELIEF AND ELATION – AP
International news agency Associated Press (AP) wrote about the feelings of “relief” and “elation” the bubble brought to Aussies and Kiwis.
“The start of quarantine-free travel was a relief for families who have been separated by the coronavirus pandemic as well as to struggling tourist operators. It marked the first, tentative steps toward what both countries hope will become a gradual reopening to the rest of the world,” AP reported.
“Both countries have managed to keep out the virus by putting up barriers to the outside world, including strict quarantine requirements for travellers returning from other countries where the virus is rampant,” AP added.
LOVE IN A TRAVEL BUBBLE – THE GUARDIAN
As well as live coverage throughout the day, The Guardian has published a photo essay showing the emotions of the airport reunions across both sides of the Tasman.
“Hugs, tears and kisses on both sides of the ditch as quarantine-free travel opened on Monday morning between Australia and New Zealand,” the site reported.
ISOLATION NOT WITHOUT ITS COSTS – THE DAILY TELEGRAPH UK
In the Daily Telegraph, an editorial piece highlighted the plight of those who’ve been separated from loved ones by the Tasman Sea.
“Scientists concede that Covid will become an endemic disease in the UK and Europe, requiring routine annual vaccinations. Unless Australia and New Zealand are willing to accept vaccinations – which can never be 100 per cent effective – as offering a route back for travellers, they could remain cut off for years,” the Telegraph column reads.
“This is a desperately sad situation for people who have family in both countries but have not been able to see them for more than a year, with no end to their separation in sight,” it adds, as it highlights Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s determination to take his time opening up the country.
TRAVEL BUBBLE LAYS GROUNDWORK FOR AIRLINES' RECOVERY – FINANCIAL TIMES
The Financial Times says the bubble between Australia and New Zealand “could provide a template for elsewhere in the world and pave the way for an airline industry recovery”.
The article quotes Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran who says the company is “totally aligned” with the principles outlined by the Government.
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