Australians abroad urged to return home immediately

  • March 18, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs has issued an urgent warning to Australians abroad, saying it could soon be too late to return home amidst the increasing cases of coronavirus pandemic.

Australian government in its official website, Smartraveller, has written, “Do not travel overseas at this time. If you wish to return home, do so as soon as possible.”

Depending on where they are, Australians are also being advised to consider whether the health care and support systems available to them are adequate, should they get sick.

As well as the efforts to slow community transmissions of the illness, the government is also preparing a second multibillion-dollar “safety net” package.

The coalition is considering a boost to income support for welfare recipients and support for businesses at risk as a consequence of economic shock associated with the coronavirus.

Given more and more countries are closing their borders or introducing travel restrictions, government has said people may not be able to return to Australia when they need to.

It is possible the government will also deliver a separate assistance package for airlines in advance of unveiling the second round of stimulus either this weekend or early next week.

Qantas has signalled it will close 90% of international flights and 60% of domestic flights from the end of the month.

Those who return to Australia will be forced into quarantine for 14 days per the government’s latest guidelines, with tough penalties facing those who break isolation.