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More than 18,000 Australians have been stranded abroad due to restrictions on the number of international arrivals

More than 18,000 Australians have been stranded abroad due to strict limits on international arrivals

  • More than 18,000 Australians abroad try to return home but are unable to
  • Restrictions on international arrivals are a major challenge, research has heard
  • Most people are trapped in India, the Philippines, South Africa and Vietnam

More than 18,000 Australians abroad are trying to return home, but restrictions on international arrivals are a major challenge, a Senate investigation has told.

Fiona Webster, State Department and Trade official, says 27,000 Australians have registered abroad, 18,800 of whom want to come home.

Most were in India, the Philippines, South Africa and Vietnam, she said Thursday.

More than 18,000 Australians abroad are trying to return home, but restrictions on international arrivals are a major challenge, a Senate investigation has told. A repatriation flight is seen arriving in Canberra from India

More than 18,000 Australians abroad are trying to return home, but restrictions on international arrivals are a major challenge, a Senate investigation has told. A repatriation flight is seen arriving in Canberra from India

More than 371,000 Australians have returned home since March 13, when the public was urged not to go abroad due to the coronavirus health crisis.

The federal government has organized 64 repatriation flights home, of which 13 from India.

Dr. Webster said the restrictions on international arrivals posed a “significant challenge” for Australians abroad.

INTERNATIONAL ARRIVAL RESTRICTIONS

Melbourne: no international passenger arrivals

Sydney: 350 passengers arrive per day

Perth: 525 per week

Brisbane: 500 per week

Adelaide: 500 per week

Canberra and Darwin: Limits discussed with jurisdictions on a case-by-case basis

Hobart: no international flights

“We can only work within the quarantine capacity,” she said.

DFAT has tried to help vulnerable Australians or those in exceptional circumstances, but had little impact on airlines, she added.

Nearly 400 people have received emergency loans to cover the cost of plane tickets home.

States demanded limits on international arrivals so that hotels could meet the mandatory two-week quarantine program.

The current limits will remain in effect until at least October 24th.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said the government’s expert medical panel did not advise on arrival folders.

“These are decisions made by every state and territory based on what they believe is a safe number of people that can enter the country and be monitored and supported in hotel quarantine,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“We are aware that there are many Australians who want to return to the country, to return to their families.”

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