Overseas travel resumes in NSW as first Qantas flight lands in Sydney
He eventually landed in Australia to see his dying mother, but now faces a new battle – getting into WA before it’s too late.
A passenger aboard the QF12, the first Qantas flight to land at Sydney Airport this morning, lashed out at WA Premier Mark McGowan.
The man has been trying for two years to return home to see his sick mother, who is now on the verge of death.
He finally landed on Australian soil this morning, but said he faces yet another battle to get to Western Australia, where borders are still closed to New South Wales.
“I am really scared and moved because I want to see my mother because she is not well,” he explained in tears at the airport this morning.
âThe doctor says she isn’t long, and I just have to do everything I can to get to WA. I love it so much and just want to make it happen. I love her heaps and can’t wait to see her.
When asked if he had a message for Washington State Premier Mark McGowan, he said he just hoped to reconsider those “in pain”.
âWe know we have to protect people’s lives, but you have to bring families together. Please, this is so important.
That’s 18 long months – or 590 days – for anyone hoping to go abroad to see family, friends, or just take a vacation abroad.
In fact, Australia’s overseas travel ban is considered one of the toughest in the world.
But now, for the first time since the borders were closed to overseas travel in March 2020 and a strict 14-day hotel quarantine program has been introduced for anyone entering the country – adventures abroad are back
But the catch is that the new rule only applies if you are vaccinated.
Qantas flight attendant Jodie, who was on the flight from Los Angeles, said emotions were running high.
âThe passengers were cheering as we took off and landed,â she said. âThere were some good stories and some sad ones.
âIt’s so nice to serve people again. I hold back my tears.
Emotions ran high as passengers who had not returned home were finally able to get off a plane and bypass all forms of quarantine.
Ryan, Amanda and Claire were three of the first to make their way to the arrivals gate at Sydney International Airport, eagerly waiting to surprise their sister and friend Carly who was on board QF12 and has been stranded in New York for three years.
âShe tried to come home but after a while she gave up and accepted it,â Ryan explained. âShe is finally coming home to see the grandparents, our parents don’t know it, so it will be a nice surpriseâ.
Carly, pictured below, was hugged by family and friends and explained that the situation in the United States was “really stressful.”
âNot having to quarantine is huge,â she explained.
“People are dying and being able to get off a plane now and see them right away is really exciting.”
“It’s really tough for expats right now.”
Australian pro-surfer Keely Andrew, who had only been abroad for three months, had been subjected to several rounds of quarantines at the hotel.
She said the ability to get off a plane and bypass quarantine is a game-changer.
âI went back and forth,â she explained.
âIt’s very different and a lot more freedom today. It’s quite emotional to arrive and not have to go through all the logistics stuff.
Ms Andrew said flying today was almost the same as it was two years before the pandemic.
The new rules
From Monday, November 1, vaccinated Australians will be able to enter and exit Sydney International Airport without having to undergo any form of hotel or home quarantine.
Australian citizens and permanent residents aged 12 and over who have received two doses of an approved or recognized vaccine – such as Pfizer (Comirnaty), AstraZeneca, (Vaxzevria) or Moderna (Spikevax) – will be able to leave Australia without having need a one way trip exemption.
Children under 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will also be able to travel abroad without exemption and re-enter without having to undergo any form of quarantine.
The first Qantas flight to land in Australia, with vaccinated passengers able to freely get off the plane and travel to Sydney without needing to quarantine, were those aboard QF12 from Los Angeles.
Landing at 6 a.m. on Monday, the passengers were told they could walk into the company without having to first spend the dreaded 14 days in a hotel room.
The Qantas flight was not the first to arrive, however, with a Singapore Airlines plane landing a little earlier at 5:15 a.m.
The first Qantas flight from Sydney will be to London via Darwin on QF1, with passengers on board no longer needing an exemption to leave the country.
But although the ban has been lifted, that doesn’t mean travel will be as easy as it was before the pandemic.
Do i need a COVID-19 test before leaving Australia?
While it depends on the country you’re traveling to, the general answer is yes.
But beware, these tests are not the same as the free tests you get nationwide.
Each destination has a particular requirement for entry, being a COVID-19 PCR test for travel.
Typically, they’ll cost around $ 150 each per test, but depending on how quickly you need the results or the private clinic, that cost can go up to $ 400 per person. – are needed for many places.
These tests provide each person with a certificate with your contact information, rather than a text message.
Do I have to take a Covid test when I arrive at my destination?
Some countries, as well as a negative test before leaving Australia, will require one on arrival.
In the UK, for example, you don’t need it before you fly, but you do need a quick $ 40 speed test two days after you arrive, organized by the UK government.
Fiji, which will open the border to Australians from December 1, requires a negative test before leaving the country and requires all visitors to go to an approved resort for three nights upon arrival. Then, after taking a rapid test and giving a negative result, vaccinated visitors can roam the islands freely.
Do I need a COVID-19 test before returning to Australia?
To board a plane back to Australia, you will need a negative Covid-19 PCR test.
This needs to be done less than three days before your flight and like when you leave Australia, you will need to shell out between $ 150 and $ 400 for a test before you get on the plane.
Test results can be digital, for example in an email or on paper, but must include your full name, date of birth and passport number, as well as the test result and method and time / the date of collection.
Are the exceptions for overseas travel permanently abolished?
From November 1, Australian citizens and fully vaccinated permanent residents will no longer need an exemption to leave the country.
You will need to provide proof of vaccination when checking in at the airport.
Australian airline Qantas announced its new app to help travelers navigate ease of travel requirements, and encouraged passengers to arrive at the international terminal 4 hours before your flight to take time for additional checks.
If you are not fully vaccinated, you should still apply for an exemption to leave Australia.
Australians are free to travel wherever they wish, but it is important to check with the destination if they allow Australian residents to enter without having to self-quarantine.
Should I quarantine outside of Australia?
It comes back to the destination. Fiji, for example, requires the three night quarantine at an assigned resort.
While Bali is not yet open to Australians, it currently allows entry to other countries, but visitors are required to stay in a quarantine hotel for five days upon arrival.
The United States, which has never barred Australians from entering during the pandemic, opens to the world on November 8. As a result, visitors will now need proof of vaccination, but no quarantine will be required.
Singapore will also allow the return of vaccinated Australians – and no need to quarantine either.
Do I have to quarantine myself when I return to Australia?
If you are not vaccinated the short answer is yes and it will have to be in a hotel.
Otherwise, quarantine rules for returning travelers remain the responsibility of individual states and territories. From November 1, only NSW, Victoria and ACT will not require any quarantine for those vaccinated. The remaining states and territories relaxed restrictions later in the year and into 2022.
How to get the International Passport for Vaccines?
Obtaining the passport is relatively straightforward.
To get a certificate, you must first have your Medicare account linked to your MyGov account on your smartphone. This is already done for those who use digital vaccination certificates locally here in Australia.
When you click on the “Proof of vaccination” page, there is now an option to “Request a certificate” for the international validation of your COVID-19 vaccines.
Obtaining the certificate is done in just four steps, after verifying your vaccination data and adding your valid Australian passport information. The system will validate almost on site and produce a certificate that you can print for your next international trip.
What if I want to travel abroad, but am not vaccinated?
While the ban on foreign travel has been lifted, only vaccinated citizens and permanent residents and their immediate families – which now includes parents – can enter Australia. Tourists, students and others are still prohibited. Proof of vaccination must be presented in English.