‘Almost brought me to tears’: Aussie was abroad during the pandemic and shares poignant photo of packed flight in Europe to show what ‘living with Covid’ will eventually look like Down Under
- An Australian woman shared a photo of a packed flight in Europe on Thursday
- She said she was almost in tears because it was her first look at life after Covid
- The 26-year-old left Sydney in May 2021 to see her partner in Hong Kong
- The woman tried to book a flight home in August, but it was not available
- When international arrival limits were halved, she decided to ‘flee’ to Europe
An Australian woman has shared a poignant photo of a packed flight in Europe to show those currently in lockdown what ‘living with Covid’ will eventually look like Down Under as restrictions ease.
Sydney, 26, was aboard a flight from Helsinki, Finland, to Prague in the Czech Republic on Thursday when she shot the image that “brought tears to her eyes.”
“Sounds a bit crazy, but this packed flight from one European country to another is my first look at normality in a post-covid world,” Sally wrote on Facebook.
Sally, 26, was on a flight from Helsinki, Finland, to Prague in the Czech Republic on Thursday when she snapped the photo that left her emotional.
She said everyone on the flight had been vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 before boarding.
While masks were still mandatory, much of Europe is not under severe Covid lockdowns — unlike Australia’s eastern states, which are still under intense stay-at-home orders until October.
“Yes, masks but no endless lockdowns, no mandatory, expensive 14-day hotel quarantines, no citizen travel bans, no humbling to the government for permission for the privilege of seeing a dying loved one or partner,” she said.
“There is no risk of being forced into isolation when vaccinated, not locked out of your own country, no 5km or 10km radius of nonsense, no constant hurdles hindering basic freedoms Australians haven’t had for 18 months and counting.
“This is living with Covid.”
The 26-year-old decided to leave Australia in May 2021 to see her partner in Hong Kong, from whom she had been separated for 14 months.
The 26-year-old told Daily Mail Australia that in May 2021 she decided to leave Australia to see her partner in Hong Kong, from whom she had been separated for 14 months.
She stayed there for three months without a visa before starting to look for flights to return home in August, but there were none.
Caps on international arrivals made it nearly impossible for her to fly back home, so she extended her Hong Kong visa for 45 days, hoping a flight back to Australia would show up.
But NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian’s move in September to halve the number of overseas arrivals to NSW, allowing only 750 people a week to land in Sydney, meant Sally was locked out of the country.
She did not want to apply for another visa extension in Hong Kong and decided to fly to Europe instead.
“I had no choice but to ‘flee’ to Europe,” she said.
She arrived earlier this week and will be keeping an eye on Australia’s Covid restrictions for the next three months as she travels the continent.
Sally tried to find flights back to Australia in August, but international arrival limits meant she was out of the country even longer than she expected
Many Facebook users who saw Sally’s heartwarming post were disappointed that Australia couldn’t enjoy the same freedoms.
One person wrote: ‘Twelve months ago Australia was a leader in fighting the virus, but now it’s a joke’.
Another said: ‘I had to come back for my young children, but if I don’t have to, then stay away.’
A third wrote: “I suppose it will be easier for Aussies to put up with the very difficult situation they are in…with the impossible Aussie zero-Covid policy…if they pretend the rest of the world is in a worst condition’.
The NSW cap on international arrivals is expected to be in place until the state reaches its 70 percent vaccination target by October.
Australian airlines have also indicated that Australia could resume international flights before Christmas this year.