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Singaporean families have reunited with their loved ones in Australia after travel finally reopened Sunday.

The Australian High Commission Singapore captured emotional moments of families arriving from Singapore to Sydney and Melbourne over the weekend once travel barriers were lifted Sunday for those vaccinated.

“Heartwarming scenes over the weekend as the first travellers under the Singapore Travel Pilot touched down in Sydney and Melbourne!” the Singapore embassy wrote yesterday.

Photos showed Melbourne airport staff welcoming travelers with banners and a basket of penguin plushies. Families posed for photos with one reunited group embracing in tears.

Over 20 countries have been approved under Singapore’s so-called vaccinated travel lane, which allows vaccinated travelers to do so without quarantine. Upon arrival in Australia, passengers have to present their vaccination certificates and a negative pre-departure Covid-19 test result at immigration.

Currently, the 13 active lanes include Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The rest will open Sunday onward.

The Singapore application portal website for vaccinated travel passes was down for about an hour yesterday due to an “immediate surge” of close to 35,000 people trying to log in, according to Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. The surge happened after applications opened for travelers from Malaysia and Indonesia yesterday morning.

As of Sunday, 94% of Singapore has been fully vaccinated and over 71% of Australians. Singapore yesterday hit its lowest level of daily new cases in two months with 1,461 infections with 5 deaths. Australia is recording a weekly average of over 1,300 cases daily. 

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This article, Singapore reunites with Australia in tears and plushies, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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