Madelin Tomelty

The world of travel is up in the air, with Coronavirus impacting people’s holiday plans – and state of mind – across the globe

Well that escalated.

A week ago, I got on a flight from Sydney to Vancouver, excited and eager to experience Canada for the first time. The mountains! The food! Those lovely Canadian folk, eh? Yesterday, less than six days later, I arrived back home, anxious as I sought out the familiar rugged Aussie terrain from my window seat, and utterly relieved when I felt the wheels of the 777 bounce and skid across the runway. When the pilot instructed us to stay in our seats and not disembark for an extended amount of time, I was slightly alarmed. Around me, on the half-empty flight, at least 50 per cent of the passengers were wearing surgical masks, their eyes flittering around in alert wariness. My hands felt like dried prunes from constantly applying hand sanitiser during the 15-hour flight. A lot can happen in a week.

I can be sure that the next fortnight will be a lot less eventful, because I am now one of the thousands of Australians who has been legally ordered to self-isolate for fourteen days, by virtue of arriving back in Australia from abroad. I was only ever going to spend four nights in Vancouver, on a work trip, but when the Prime Minister made the order on my third night, a few days after the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, it became crystal clear how rapidly this global health crisis was escalating.

Countries had started closing their borders, and given the lack of warning that came with the new Australian self-isolation law for those returning from overseas, I was suddenly concerned that I could end up stranded in Canada.

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