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Woman, dying sister reunite after Australia exempts travel

Source: Associated Press, 01/01/1970

Family friends drove the retired nurse 490 kilometers (300 miles)
from Sydney to the New South Wales state coastal town of
Bowraville.
Archer finally hugged her younger sibling in the front yard of
Baker`s home on Wednesday. It was their first reunion in six
years.
`Words can`t explain how I feel, to be honest.` Archer told
Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview aired on Thursday.
`I`m just so happy that I finally got to be here and be with her.
The last two weeks have been the hardest or the longest two weeks
of my life,` Archer said.
Archer was surprised that her persistence paid off. But she is
adamant that Australia made the right decision in allowing her to
remain with her sister in her final days.
`I wondered whether the Australian government had any compassion
at all with their rejections,` Archer said.
`I honestly don`t know what they were thinking. I know it`s an
awful time at the moment with the virus ... but, I mean, there are
some things you`ve got to be a bit lenient on and I felt this was
one of them,` she said.
`I didn`t think I was ever going to see Gail again. That would`ve
been the worst thing in the world if that had happened,` she
added.
Australia`s Department of Home Affairs relented on Archer`s travel
application after it allowed the New Zealand Warriors rugby league
team to relocate from Auckland in preparation for the Australian
football competition restarting next week.
The department declined to explain its change of heart on the
sisters` reunion, saying in a statement it did not comment on
individual cases.
New Zealand has largely succeeded in its goal of eliminating the
virus. It has reported no new infections over the past four days
and most of the people who contracted the virus have recovered.
About 1,500 people have been reported as having the virus
including 21 who died.
Australia has had similar success in slowing the virus spread
although New South Wales remains the worst-affected state.
Australia expects New Zealand will become the first international
destination with which regular passenger travel will resume
because of the low risk of infection.
Australia has recorded 7,079 virus cases and 100 deaths.
Australia`s population is five times larger than New Zealand`s.
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