A woman tearfully embraces her dying sister in Australia after weeks of bureaucratic bickering over restrictions on pandemic travel. By ROD McGUIRK Associated Press May 21, 2020, 7:52 min. Read3 min, read3 min readShare to company to Twitter Email this article CANBERRA, Australia –
A woman tearfully embraces her dying sister in Australia after weeks of bureaucratic bickering over restrictions on pandemic travel.
Australia has refused Christine Archer’s permission to fly from New Zealand four times before her story caught the media’s attention.
His only sister, Gail Baker, was diagnosed with incurable ovarian cancer in late March after the two countries stopped international travel. Baker might have weeks to live.
Archer was finally allowed to fly to Sydney and only spent a week in hotel quarantine before being tested negative for the corona virus. International travelers are usually quarantined for two weeks.
Family friends drive retired nurses 490 kilometers (300 miles) from Sydney to the coastal city of the state of New South Wales in Bowraville.
Archer finally hugged his sister in the front yard of Baker’s house on Wednesday. It was their first reunion in six years.
“Words cannot explain my feelings, to be honest.” Archer told Australian Broadcasting Corp in an interview broadcast on Thursday.
“I am very happy that finally I was here and accompanied him. The last two weeks were the two hardest or longest weeks of my life,” Archer said.
Archer was surprised that his tenacity paid off. But he insisted that Australia made the right decision to allow him to stay with his sister in his last days.
“I wonder if the Australian government has mercy with their refusal,” Archer said.
“I honestly don’t know what they are thinking. I know this is a terrible time with this virus … but, I mean, there are some things that make you a little tolerant and I feel this is one of them,” he said.
“I didn’t think I would see Gail again. That would be the worst thing in the world if that happened,” he added.
The Australian Department of the Interior is relying on Archer’s travel application after allowing the New Zealand Warriors rugby league team to move from Auckland to prepare for the Australian football competition to start again next week.
The department refused to explain the change of heart at the sisters’ reunion, saying in a statement that they did not comment on individual cases.
New Zealand has been largely successful in its goal of eliminating the virus. There have been no reported new infections over the past four days and most people who have contracted the virus have recovered. Around 1,500 people have been reported to have the virus including 21 dead.
Australia has the same success in slowing the spread of the virus even though New South Wales remains the most severely affected country. Australia hopes that New Zealand will become the first international destination with which regular passenger travel will continue because of the low risk of infection.
Australia has recorded 7,079 cases of the virus and 100 deaths. Australia’s population is five times bigger than New Zealand. .
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