On board one of the first freedom flights back to Australia | Canberra Times

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This morning, former Canberra girl Claire Meeks lands in Sydney at yet another milestone in Australia’s COVID journey. The 39-year-old will be on one of the first flights home where vaccinated Australians will not be required to quarantine, Singapore Airlines looks set to win the race, landing in Sydney at. 6.05. Claire, who’s still in the air until about 6 p.m. 8.05, sent us a picture of her almost empty United Airlines plane en route from San Francisco. “Must be able to stretch a little on this one,” she said. “There are a maximum of 50 people on this flight.” Claire is going to Sydney at 8.05 and will then get a connecting flight to be with his family in Canberra, including parents John and Colette Mackay, in the afternoon. She has not been home for more than two years. “I’m wildly excited to see my family and hope my best friend gets her baby while I’m in town,” Claire from California said last week. “I’m also a little nervous. I’m fully vaccinated and get two COVID tests if I do not get results from one company in time, so I have my results before I fly. I also have to be tested when I arrive in Australia. ” Today is becoming an emotional day for so many people. Do you remember Love Actually? The 2003 piece of Christmas romance comedy perfection is required viewing for many fans every December. And no matter how many times you watch the movie, it’s impossible not to cry at the opening scene, a montage of real reunions at Heathrow Airport. And now, after nearly 20 tumultuous months, we are witnessing a stream of Love Actually-style airport reunions. Today, Australia’s international travel ban has been lifted. For the first time since March 2020, vaccinated Australians will be allowed to travel abroad. On that front, we are knocking on some happy, even euphoric, goodbye, as especially young Australians are finally going to roam around the world. But, what is important, there will also be some very emotional reunions for a very long time. From today, vaccinated Australians can return home without completing mandatory hotel quarantine. Australians traveling home must not only be double-waxed but also show a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken 72 hours or less before their departure. Some home quarantine may be required, depending on the state or territory. In ACT, travelers aged 18 and over who have been vaccinated with a recognized vaccine no longer need to be quarantined. Travelers will be asked to take the COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arriving at ACT. Travelers will also be asked to undergo another COVID-19 test between days five and six upon arrival. The ACT government says unvaccinated travelers must complete a 14-day quarantine period at the port of entry. If travel to ACT is required for extraordinary or compassionate purposes, travelers are required to apply for a waiver from ACT Health. The quarantine conditions will continue to apply. Unvaccinated travelers under the age of 18 will be treated differently. Exceptions to enter the ACT will be required and changed quarantine and test requirements will apply. More details are here Travelers with a medical dispensation will be administered as fully vaccinated travelers. For many Australians, the journey home often could not be done earlier, as flights were not available, fares were exorbitant, or people could not afford to pay the hotel quarantine – $ 3000 per adult, $ 2500 per child. Claire moved to Sonoma, California in 2016, where she lives with her husband Trevor and is the development manager for a local animal boarding school. She was last in Canberra for just 36 hours in July 2019 to attend her grandmother’s funeral. READ MORE: Her parents also visited her in California for Christmas that year, and when I look back, I’m so glad they did. Soon after, COVID began to shut the world down. Claire is due to arrive in Sydney at UA863. This trip, Claire will be home for two weeks, something that was not possible until the travel ban was lifted. “Honestly, I would have done the quarantine, but planes were insanely expensive and very unreliable. Prices were around $ 10,000 and there was no guarantee you would fly,” she said. “Quarantine also meant I could not make a shorter trip – I would have had to come for at least a month to make it worthwhile.” Her flights had now cost closer to $ 2,500. And after giving her loved ones a hug, what is she most looking forward to? “I’m going to Tu Do in O’Connor for some fried quail and spring rolls,” she said with a laugh.

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