Coronavirus International Travel Update: Australia’s November 1 Borders Open – But Many Australians Still Cannot Return Home, ‘Exploding’

Tomorrow will be a day of celebration for many Australians who are finally on the verge of reuniting with a loved one abroad and returning home as limits open.

But, for others, the grief continues.

There are currently 46,800 Australians registered with the authorities as wishing to return home.

And while getting to NSW, Victoria or ACT will become much easier now the borders are open and there is no quarantine for people vaccinated with a TGA-approved vaccine, for people from other states or those who are not considered stung, the outlook remains bleak.
Paul Harris, 70, tries to return from New Zealand to Perth with his partner Kellie-Jane Pritchard. (Provided)

Paul Harris, 70, is trying to get from New Zealand to Perth with his partner Kellie-Jane Pritchard.

Their September flight was canceled and they couldn’t find a new one.

And Western Australia has yet to define a reopening plan, with Prime Minister Mark McGowan hinting that it could be well before next year before caps only allowing 265 arrivals per week and the $ 3,000 hotel quarantine disappear.

Even if they fly to NSW or Victoria, they cannot cross the border.

Lockdown restrictions will end in the Perth and Peel areas as scheduled.
Western Australia has yet to define a reopening plan. (Getty)

The pair were sold in Wellington in September and have no homes or cars.

They are also desperate to return to see his mother, who is 94 years old.

“We are stranded in New Zealand not knowing when flights to Australia might resume,” Harris told 9News.

“We live here now thanks to the charity of our friends.”

A lone runner along the Devonport seafront as Auckland wakes up to locking level four.
Paul Harris, 70, is trying to get from New Zealand to Perth with his partner Kellie-Jane Pritchard. (Getty)

Free travel within or outside Australia has not been allowed since the border closed on March 20, 2020 – almost 600 days ago.

Clearance was required to leave, and strict flight caps prevented more than a handful of people from being allowed on each flight.

This made thefts scary and very expensive.

Australians have been banned from coming from India. (Getty)

Professor Tim Soutphommasane, a political theorist at the University of Sydney, told 9News that the travel ban was almost unprecedented in the world and had proved “explosive” for thousands of Australians.

“China, Hong Kong and New Zealand might be the only other places to take a similar approach,” he said.

“It is a fundamental right of citizenship that you should be able to enter and leave your country.

“It was unreasonable that we did not allow our fellow Australians to return home beyond a very small number of arrivals.

“Some states still cling to a belief in zero COVID.

“But at some point, everyone in Australia will have to accept that we cannot eliminate the virus.”

A ferry in Sydney Harbor.
Tourists and other visa holders such as students remain off limits. (Dominique Lorrimer)

Tourists and other visa holders, such as students, remain barred from entry unless they can obtain special permission.

This has resulted in shortages of workers, with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet keen to allow them to return.

And workers living in Australia on temporary visas cannot leave either because they would not be allowed to return.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “We are doing everything we can to help Australians who stay abroad return.

Diners can sit down for a meal inside the QVB in Sydney for the first time since June.  Sydney reopens

‘Freedom Day’ in photos: drinks, haircuts, gyms and shopping

“Since the start of the pandemic, DFAT has helped more than 59,100 Australians return, including more than 30,800 people on 200 government-facilitated flights. “

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