Australia

Trailblazers going on holiday despite Omicron


Our border reopening might need been paused out of concern over Omicron – however one nation is pushing forward – and Aussies are leaping on the probability.

The unknown risk of Omicron has triggered concern and further coronavirus restrictions not simply in Australia however the world over.

Despite the potential risk, Fiji is pushing forward with its reopening plan and can welcome a whole lot of Aussie vacationers from right now from each Melbourne and Sydney.

Dozens of individuals flocked to Sydney International Airport to catch the primary flight into Nadi in additional than 20 months, with the airplane anticipated to the touch down simply earlier than 11.30am native time.

Travellers’ causes for escaping to Fiji had been blended, with some going to see household they hadn’t seen for years, however loads of others had been getting away to have a good time their honeymoons, marriage ceremony anniversaries and babymoons.

Newlyweds Samuel and Melissa Kares, who had been married final Monday, mentioned their dream had initially been to get away to the Maldives however Fiji was a worthy alternative.

“We got married last Monday … so we wanted to go to the Maldives originally – then we downgraded to Queensland when we were planning it a year and a half ago – then it was looking like Melbourne, because we’re originally from Melbourne, but yeah thank God it opened up so we could go to Fiji,” Samuel mentioned.

“We’re very happy with Fiji.”

The couple mentioned they weren’t too nervous in regards to the Omicron variant – simply in regards to the potential danger of resort quarantine.

“We’re just hoping when we come back it’s not too difficult … the lockdown rules and stuff,” Melissa mentioned.

“But we’re pretty lucky because we can work from home.”

Joel Fitzgibbon and his companion Trizzia Zuluaga had been making a final sprint abroad as a pair earlier than their child was born.

“We just needed a trip somewhere close. I chose Fiji primarily because I wasn’t sure what my morning sickness would be like on the plane so this is probably our last holiday as a couple,” Trizzia mentioned.

“We’re just trying to make the most of it before the end of the year.”

The couple had no thought they had been on the primary flight out, admitting they’d jumped on the probability after seeing an advert for Fiji Airways on social media.

“I literally saw a message on Facebook to say that Fiji Airways was starting flights on the first of December and within an hour I had that accommodation and everything booked,” Trizzia mentioned.

The couple are solely going away for every week and aren’t nervous in regards to the Omicron variant.

“I think we should be safe in Fiji. We just have to keep our wits about us but there’s a lot of testing over there so we’ll just have to keep up with the news,” Trizzia added.

Alex and Bella Epshteyn had been off to Fiji to have a good time their twenty sixth marriage ceremony anniversary.

“We didn’t know we were on the first flight out when we booked but we do now … we’re very excited,” Bella mentioned.

The couple mentioned there was no level being concerned about Omicron.

“It’s not really in our control anyway ….so we might as well get away,” Bella mentioned.

Most of the individuals information.com.au spoke with didn’t realise they had been on the primary flight to Fiji in additional than 20 months, with many admitting they’d merely jumped on the probability to get away.

Sofia Joseph, who was travelling along with her 11-year-old son, mentioned they had been getting away for each a vacation and to see household.

“We’ve decided to take the chance and just go,” she mentioned.

“We haven’t been on holidays since 2017 and since lockdown, I’ve worked so many hours, I work in the health sector so yeah it’s a well-deserved holiday.”

Ms Joseph mentioned she had some fears about Omicron however their quick journey meant she felt secure.

“Last night I was a bit hesitant about whether to go or not but we’re only going for a week, just to have a bit of relaxation, get away and then come back,” she mentioned.

Ravneet Prasad, initially from Fiji, mentioned he was determined to see his household after not with the ability to go dwelling for greater than two years.

“I’m going to visit family and friends, I’ve missed them a lot,” he mentioned.

“Hopefully we’ll be back before anything happens … this Omicron is a bit up in the air. We’ve planned for a week and a half but we haven’t paid our return fare, maybe we’ll come back early if we need.”

Australia grew to become one in every of dozens of nations the world over to re-impose restrictions on international arrivals at the weekend after the variant of concern was recognized in 9 southern African nations.

All worldwide arrivals not barred beneath new restrictions should isolate for 72 hours and await the outcomes of a PCR check.

The federal authorities paused the arrival of overseas college students, migrants and dealing vacation visa holders – meant to start right now – till December 15.

The journey bubble with South Korea and Japan was additionally placed on pause for 2 weeks.

It was feared Fiji would take related motion in opposition to Australia, nevertheless the nation has already taken loads of steps to make sure it stays Covid-safe.

More than 90 per cent of Fiji’s inhabitants is totally vaccinated in opposition to coronavirus and all arrivals are required to be totally vaccinated and have returned a damaging PCR check inside 72 hours of their flight.

Tourists are additionally required to remain in a Covid-approved resort, the place they’ll then bear a fast antigen check for coronavirus inside 48 hours of their arrival into Fiji.

Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO Andre Viljoen mentioned the airline and the nation had been “working hard since March last year to prepare for this moment”.

“The safety of our customers and staff will always be our highest priority. Our entire workforce is fully vaccinated, our new Travel Ready program is dedicated to medical safety and wellness, and Fiji Airways is the only airline in the Australia-Pacific region to achieve a Skytrax 5-Star Covid Safety rating as well as the highest Hospital Grade ‘Diamond’ certification by APEX Health and Safety,” Mr Viljoen mentioned.

It was feared Omicron would put a cease to Fiji reopening however the nation’s nationwide provider mentioned it had taken steps to make sure security.

In an announcement earlier this week, Fiji Airways mentioned it was “working closely with the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services to monitor and minimise the risk of the Omicron variant of Covid-19”.

“Fiji already has multiple layers of health and safety protection protocols from Covid-19 and its potential variants in its border-reopening framework which was designed to even deal with situations like this,” Fiji Airways mentioned.

“Fiji Airways is committed to keeping travellers, citizens and staff safe as Fiji reopens its borders for tourists from travel partner countries.”

Fiji Airways mentioned it had additionally added a further measure on the airport – a declaration kind for all travellers to declare the place they’ve been previously 14 days.

“Fiji Airways and Fiji’s tourism industry look forward to welcoming visitors and returning Fijians … after almost 20 months from 1st December,” the airline mentioned.

“The return of tourists means a return of jobs in Fijian tourism and return of revenue flows crucial to the Fijian economy.”



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