Australia looking to restrict return of citizens amid coronavirus outbreak
- 08 July 2020
Australia will likely slow down the return of its citizens from abroad, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, as it grapples with a fresh outbreak of the coronavirus that has led it to isolate its second most populous state, APA reports citing Reuters.
The border between Victoria and New South Wales, the busiest in the country, was closed overnight and around 4.9 million residents in the Victorian capital of Melbourne will return to partial lockdown at midnight following a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city.
“The rest of the country knows that the sacrifice that you’re going through right now is not just for you and your own family, but it’s for the broader Australian community,” Morrison said during a televised media conference.
“I can imagine the frustration ... we don’t have control over the virus as such, but we do have control over how we respond.”
With the Victoria shutdown putting pressure on other states, Morrison said he would take a proposal on Friday to the national cabinet created to deal with the pandemic, seeking to slow down the return of Australian citizens and permanent residents by reducing the number of repatriation flights. The two groups have been the only arrivals allowed since Australia closed its international border in March.
Neighbouring New Zealand has already taken that step, announcing on Tuesday that its national airline will not take new inbound bookings for three weeks to reduce the burden on overflowing quarantine facilities.