Australia reopened for international travel on Monday, almost two years after the country closed its borders to tourists.
British tourist Sue Witton told Sky News on Monday that she hadn’t seen her son for 724 days, as they reunited at Melbourne Airport.
“I don’t want to let him go, it’s just beautiful,” she said.
There are no quarantine requirements for vaccinated visitors under the reopening. The exception is Western Australia, the largest state by land area, which continues to require travelers to quarantine for seven days until a planned change on March 3.
Unvaccinated tourists over age 12 remain must quarantine for 14 days unless they have a valid exemption.
For the first 18 months of the pandemic, Australia barred almost all visitors, earning it the nicknames of “Fortress Australia” and the “Hermit Kingdom,” and required returning citizens and residents to pay for two weeks of costly hotel quarantine. Caps on returning Australians meant many were stuck overseas, unable to see ailing loved ones or attend weddings or funerals.
Restrictions were lifted for immunized Australians in November. International students, some foreign workers and family members of citizens and permanent residents were allowed to return in mid-December, despite an omicron outbreak causing one of the world’s sharpest spikes in infections.
Michael E. Miller contributed to this report.
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