The emotional footage of hundreds of families being reunited at Brisbane airport and of thousands of cars pouring into Queensland on Monday testified to the impact the state's seven-and-a-half month border closure has had on hundreds of thousands of people across the country and around the world.
Grandparents were seeing newly born grandchildren, Queenslanders locked out of their own state and who had been living in improvised accommodation - including tents and in their cars - were finally being allowed to return to their homes and, sadly, for many of the new arrivals, their first port of call will be to cemeteries where loved ones they had been unable to be with before they died, and whose funerals they had been unable to attend, have been laid to rest.
Everybody had their own story; some bad, some sad and some with happy endings. Star-crossed lovers trapped in different states will now be able to marry; one Queensland mum and dad were able to meet their new son-in-law for the first time. Their daughter and her partner had been locked out of Australia in the UK for almost two years and then, even when NSW opened its international border, were still locked out of Queensland.
It was, in short, a day long on emotions that, because of the massive crowds at the road crossings, also taxed people's patience to the limit.
Monday was also a welcome sign that 2022 should - hopefully - be very different from a 2021 that has been plagued in the most literal sense by some of the longest lockdowns in the world and border closures that, at times, looked as if they would never end.
There is now good reason to believe that, with the exception of Western Australia, Australians will be able to move freely between the various states and territories before Christmas. Our 120-year-old federation, which at time has been stretched to breaking point, has almost been restored.
When Western Australia reopens its borders next February we will again be one nation; one that has been put to the test and which, thanks to the patience, social cohesion and common sense of the vast majority, has prevailed.
That said, the fight against coronavirus is still far from over and, despite what is one of the best vaccination rates in the world, there are dark clouds on the horizon. The most significant of these is the newly identified Omicron variant which is now spreading in the community. While the jury is still out on whether or not it is more lethal than previous variants, including the deadly Delta, it is extremely transmissible.
It is also, apparently, resistance to some vaccines, particularly those whose efficacy drops off after six months. The government's next big challenge is to ensure everybody has their booster shot as soon as they are eligible.
The belated decision by ATAGI to reduce the waiting time for Pfizer boosters from six months to five will almost certainly reduce hospitalisations and save lives. That said, it is important to note that as of Monday afternoon only one person who had been diagnosed with the Omicron variant had been admitted to hospital.
There is as yet, as the PM and other government officials have repeatedly said, no cause to panic. Immunisation, social distancing, voluntary mask wearing, and good hygiene will help to contain the spread of all virus variants.
Australians literally have their future in their own hands.
Our community has travelled a hard road over the last two years and the border closures and lockdowns have exacted as high a human cost as the disease itself.
Let's put these tough lessons to good use and move into a more compassionate and united future.
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