SYDNEY, Australia — Emotions were running high in Australia on Monday as international travel resumed in the country after months of restrictions.
The Sydney Airport shared videos of international travelers arriving in the country and stepping directly into the arms of their loved ones for the first time in 19 months.
The airport appeared to come alive with tears, embraces and laughter.
“Today some of the magic returned to our arrival halls; grandparents meeting grandkids for the first time, families reuniting, all of the scenes that have been absent for far too long,” said Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert in a statement.
Since March 29, nearly all international passengers had been required to go into hotel quarantine with Sydney Airport processing more than 250,000 arrivals – over half of the country’s total.
Now, Australians who have been waiting to reconnect with their friends and family members overseas can do so freely without needing an exemption if they are vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We still have a long way to go in terms of the recovery of our sector, but allowing fully vaccinated Australians to travel without quarantine will provide the template for bringing back students, business travelers, and tourists from all over the world,” said Culbert.
Thailand also relaxed its quarantine restrictions this week and is reopening to vaccinated travelers from several different countries and territories, including the United States. Travelers from those places can avoid lengthy hotel quarantines, CNN reports.
These countries are cautiously making these travel changes as more people get vaccinated against the coronavirus and COVID-19 cases continue to fall.