The first flight served the route between the Australian metropolis of Sydney and New Zealand’s Auckland on Monday. While New Zealanders have been able to travel to Australia without being quarantined since October, they have had to stay in isolation for two weeks on the flight back to New Zealand.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern jointly described the bilateral agreement as “unique in the world” and a “win-win situation” for both countries. In Queenstown, New Zealand on the South Island, the joy was so great that early passengers from Australia were greeted with music and free bungee jumping from the local Kawarau Bridge.
Both countries closed their borders to travelers in March 2020. With a few exceptions, only their citizens and residents have been allowed into the country.
New Zealand is an exemplary country in crisis due to its very strict procedures and meticulous contact tracing. In the island nation of 4.8 million people, nearly 2,600 cases have been recorded so far, and 26 people have died in connection with Covid-19. For a long time it was pretty much normal again.
Australia is also very successful in dealing with the pandemic. So far, authorities have confirmed about 29,500 cases and 910 deaths among more than 25 million people.
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