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Not Quite Travelling in Australia in a Not Quite Post COVID-19 World

Flying over WA 2007 trip.
Flying over WA 2007 trip.

Booking any kind of cross border travel in today's not quite post COVID-19 world is a bit of a gamble. Almost a month ago my partner and I booked airfares to travel from South Australia to Western Australia for a five day holiday to attend a 70th birthday, visit family I hadn't seen since 2016, and so my partner could spend her birthday in one of our favorite places, Fremantle.

We booked the tickets because the week before they were half the price we paid, and we didn't want to hold off any longer in case the price went up yet again to a potentially unaffordable amount.

In the meantime all the state governments of Australia were making plans for when to reopen their borders to general travel, based upon the number of fully vaccinated people in each state. SA settled on 80% fully vaxxed before we would open our border to states that were still battling COVID-19 lockdowns, primarily New South Wales and Victoria.

While I decided to get myself fully vaccinated just incase SA went from 'very low risk' to just 'low risk' in the eyes of the WA Government (meaning I would need to be fully vaxxed to enter the state), our state reached our quota quick enough to open the borders a week sooner than originally forecast.

Even though our state was only allowing fully vaxxed people in from high risk states, it took less than 24 hours for COVID-19 positive people to start popping up within the state. Only two people (I think) with one being a child of an age that was not required to be vaccinated at all.

The WA government, being one of the most over cautious states in the country, took this, along with the new ‘Omicron’ COVID-19 variant coming out of South Africa, as a reason to up South Australia to 'low risk'. Meaning, anyone coming from South Australia to Western Australia would have to be fully vaxxed, get tested upon entering the state, and quarantine for 14 days. We were kind of hoping that last requirement wouldn't eventuate and that a COVID-19 negative test might be enough.

It doesn't take much math skills to know that 14 days is a bit longer than our five day holiday plans. Needless to say, we not quite went on a trip to Western Australia.

Obviously this has been very disappointing but it was always a possibility. Had our state government been just a little more cautious and followed in WA's footsteps, with their plan for a 90% fully vaxxed population and opening their border in January of 2022, our holiday would've gone ahead with no issue.

To some degree it's a very first world problem. It was no problem to convert our airfares to airline credit, that we can use to book flights any time in the next 12 months and we got most of our accommodation booking refunded. 

We still plan to visit WA in 2022, when we're past very strict border controls, or we can book a holiday long enough to factor in 14 days of quarantine (which may turn into a month of quarantine all up as our own state is also making people coming back to SA quarantine for 14 days).

That was our not quite trip to Western Australia. Heading into year three of a COVID-19 world I'm hoping we can get closer to wiping COVID-19 and its variants out. 

The longer this goes the weaker arguments against the vaccines being untested get. At this stage you could make the case that the COVID-19 vaccines is one the most tested vaccines on the planet just based on the sheer number of people getting them.

After that, it really just comes down to choice. I'm definitely pro-choice, and people should not be penalized for not being vaccinated - at all. We all should be fully aware, by now, that being vaccinated does not stop you from getting COVID-19. It just gives you body a fighting chance to minimize symptoms, and possibly reduce its chance of spreading because it can't take hold in you and, in theory will die out.

However, if you are fully vaxxed, be aware you can not only get COVID-19, you can still spread it too, as I wrote about in Vaccinated Michael Rosenbaum Gets COVID-19 Highlighting the Importance of Vaccines Alongside Other Anti-Virus Practices.


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