First 'no-quarantine' flights arrive into Australia as virus cases fall

Daniel Fowler
October 16, 2020

More than a dozen passengers originally from New Zealand have been detained after arriving in Melbourne, Australian media reports.

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Three flights from New Zealand touched down at Sydney Airport earlier today carrying global passengers who, for the first time in seven months, will not need to quarantine upon arrival.

The ABC understands the passengers flew to Sydney and got a connecting to flight to Melbourne.

Airport staff are also remarking to each other about how good it is to see people back in the global terminal. One man hadn't seen his wife since February.

There were hugs, kisses and tears as those stuck on either side of the Tasman came together after seven months apart, after both nations closed their borders in March to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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Non-citizens and non-residents have had to apply for an exemption to be able to enter the country.

New South Wales and Northern Territory are now open thanks to the new "safe travel zone".

Australia's travel bubble with New Zealand will pop today, with the first flights from across the ditch set to touch down on our shores. Other states and territories may be added later.

Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran said in order for the airline to continue to carry passengers safely and identify passengers with travel not originating in New Zealand, it had introduced "quarantine" and "quarantine-free" flights.

A Covid-19 hotspot is defined as a place with a rolling three-day average of three cases a day. But those returning to New Zealand will still need to go through quarantine.

These passengers must travel to Australia on a "quarantine-free flight", which only carries those who meet the requirements.

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