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Having received our permanent residency (PR) from Australia, my husband and I moved from Chicago after ten years in the United States.
Despite the risks, we took a flight to Sydney on 8 July via San Francisco and moved countries amid the coronavirus pandemic. While boarding the flight, we noticed that there were just 24 passengers on the entire airplane. The airlines was running at just 10 percent capacity for a 16-hour flight, a sight none of us had ever seen before. Luckily, social distancing was no problem for us.
A long, tiring flight later, we reached Sydney and made our way out after three hours. I found Australia's 14-day quarantine policy very effective and I think it is unique how the Australian government is managing international arrivals.
It was 9 July. After our immigration was done, we were escorted to an area that had many medical nurses. They took our temperature and gave us information with regards to COVID-19. From there, the armed forces of Australia escorted us to our hotel. All the baggage was handled by them.
In Australia, the Australian Defence Force and/or Australian Border Force pick arriving passengers from the airport and take them to hotels pre-decided by the government. Mostly these are 3-5 star hotels but depend on availability.
All these stays and food expenses are fully covered by the Australian government.
After our mandatory screening, medical professionals gave us information about COVID-19 rules in New South Wales.
After all the formalities, a bus took to our home for 14 days – the Novotel Hotel at Darling Harbour.
Quarantine With a View
Our room was quite spacious and well-equipped with coffee, water bottles et al. The day we arrived, we were given a meal upon arrival. Everyday, we get three meals.
While checking us in, they took all our dietary restrictions into consideration. That's something truly commendable. We were also told that there will be doctors, physicians and psychologists present at the hotel 24/7 should we feel the need to consult them.
The view from our hotel is fantastic and the room is very comfortable. We are in the heart of CBD (Central Business District) and all facilities are up to the mark.
There was a mandatory check-up ie temperature and swabs for coronavirus testing at day 3 and we will get a second screening on day 10.
One thing to note is that even though we came here from the United States, which has been one of the worst hit as far as the pandemic is concerned, we were not treated as an outcast. We were given a very warm welcome and everything was handled meticulously.
We feel blessed to have finally made our move from Chicago to Sydney.
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