Federal Government expresses desire to increase intake of Australians stranded overseas, requests states to make provisions

A Nepal Airlines carrier parked at Brisbane International Airport after bringing in stranded Australians and New Zealanders in Nepal on 1st August, 2020 (Image: Captain Vijaya Lama)

The Australian Federal Government has expressed an desire to allow more stranded Australians back into the country, and has requested the state government’s to boost their hotel quarantine capacity by 50% to facilitate the same.

According to reports, “Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has requested state and territory leaders to increase Australia’s current cap of 4,000 arrivals per week to 6,000 arrivals per week.

New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia have been requested to allow an additional 500 incoming passengers each week. South Australia has been asked to increase its capacity, and Tasmania, the ACT, and NT also have been asked to see if they can accommodate more arrivals.

According to reports, an estimated 25,000 Australians who are currently overseas have expressed a desire to return home. The current cap of 4,000 arrivals per week has placed several stranded Australians in a difficult situation, and have been requesting the government to allow them in.

McCormack also said that he had written to chief ministers and premiers of all states, and was positive that the states would increase the number to 6,000 – most likely by the end of this month.

Australia has very tight border security in place to protect the nation against Covid-19. They are only allowing citizens and Permanent Residents to enter the country, and all arrivals have to quarantine for 14 days at designated facilities in one’s port of arrival.

Overseas arrivals landing in QLD, NSW, SA, NT and WA have to foot in the cost of their hotel quarantine fees. Victoria, which is currently dealing with a community outbreak of Covid-19 is not taking any overseas returnee at the moment.