Cap On International Arrivals Raised To 6,000 To Allow Aussies To Return Home
Australian authorities have raised the cap on international arrivals to allow more stranded Aussies to return home.
There's an estimated 25,000 Australians who are trapped overseas and weren't able to mobilise quick enough when the coronavirus pandemic was first kicking off.
Currently, there are only 4,000 people allowed into the country each week and all are whisked off to hotel quarantine for two weeks. That cap has stopped planes from being filled and seats are costing much more to offset long flights with less passengers.
But the Australian government has revealed the cap will be increased to 6,000 people to help bring our citizens home.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said there are around 3,000 Aussies overseas who are deemed in 'vulnerable' situations.
"It has been a difficult situation for some trying to get home and we have acknowledged that," Mr McCormack said during a press conference.
"We want those returning Australians to be able to do so...I want to raise that to 6,000.
"I have written to premiers and chief ministers to make that possible so that we can bring home 2,000 more."
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The 4,000 person a week cap was introduced to lessen the burden on hotel quarantine facilities, who were worried they wouldn't be able to cope with demand.
Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth are accepting around 500 passengers a week, while New South Wales is copping the majority of the arrivals with 350 people every day.
The Deputy Prime Minister said those numbers will sharply increase as more people are allowed in.
"We will increase the number of Australians coming into Sydney by 500," Mr McCormack said.
"As well 500 more will be coming into Queensland and I urge and encourage [Premier] Annastacia Palaszczuk to look at the Gold Coast and Cairns.
"Likewise, WA is increasing its capacity by 500; SA about 360."
Authorities are also looking into opportunities to divert some passengers to places like Tasmania and the Northern Territory to lessen the burden.
"I have written to those territories and states to see what capacity they quarantine can have at this point in time," he said. "I want to make sure that more Australians can return home. There are some heart-wrenching stories."
Featured Image Credit: PA