Border closures impacted my life

Post by Paul Batten

I would like to talk about one issue from lockdown and how Covid19 had a significant impact on my life.

I live in Brisbane, Australia. Last year, I returned to NZ in February – I visit my mother here every February for her birthday. She's 97 years old! Wow!

On this visit, I was planning to spend more time in NZ– about one month.

Then, in March, we were told about Covid entering NZ and I got an email telling me that I couldn't fly home – the border was closed. I was stuck, I had to stay in NZ.

I enjoy being in NZ and meeting up with the Deaf Community here but, when we are in lockdown, we are only able to communicate through cameras. I have to say, it's lucky that there is such great technology so that we are still able to communicate using programs like Zoom on our computers because if we're at alert level three or four, it's full lockdown and we cannot visit each other. Once we move to level two we were able to meet up with a few people and then level one means back to normal socialising with each other.

I ended up having to stay in NZ for thirteen months while the borders were closed and there were no flights going to Australia. My flights were delayed four times. Then finally after 13 months I was able to travel home to Australia from Auckland.

I arrived at 4.50pm, and it was announced that Brisbane would be going in to lockdown in 10 minutes, at 5pm! So I made it in the nick of time! I went straight home and was in lockdown for 2 weeks.

I stayed in Brisbane for about seven weeks then I came back to NZ while the borders were open again. At that time NZ had no cases of Covid and Brisbane only had the odd case so I decided to come back to spend some more time with my mother.

Auckland then had its first case of Covid Delta and the whole country went into lockdown again. So that was a bit of a shock for me as it meant that I wouldn't be able to get back to Brisbane. I would have to stay here and go back when the borders open again.

Now Auckland is at level three and the rest of NZ is at level two but there are still no international flights into and out of Auckland. So, for now, I will just need to be patient and wait.

That's my story, thank you.

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