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Monday, 25 January 2021

Australia to halve number of returnees

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Australia to halve number of returnees
Australia to halve number of returnees

Australia will halve the number of citizens allowed to return home from overseas each week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, as authorities struggle to contain a COVID-19 outbreak in the country's second most populous city.

Libby Hogan reports.

Australia will halve the number of citizens allowed to return home from overseas each week, starting from Monday.

The country is struggling to contain a coronavirus outbreak in Victoria, its second most populous state.

Leader Scott Morrison announced on Friday (July 10) that the number will be capped at 4,000 people each week.

"We also agreed today a reduction in the number of inbound arrivals into Australia across those ports that are able to accept visitors, sorry I should say returning Australian citizens and residents." Since March, only Australian citizens and permanent residents have been allowed into the country.

Up until now returnees would enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine in hotels, paid for by state governments.

But that will change next week, returning citizens will be expected to pay the costs themselves.

And no flights are permitted to go into Victoria -- as its capital, Melbourne, went into lockdown this week.

Its border with New South Wales -- where Sydney is located was also closed.

Victoria's Premier, Daniel Andrews warned that it may get worse, before it gets better: "No one should underestimate how significant, how big a challenge we all face.

It is very significant and that's why each of us have to play our part," Melbourne's lockdown for 6 weeks is linked to staff members at hotels, housing returned travellers for which quarantine protocols were not strictly followed.

Victorian state authorities have announced an investigation into the matter last week.

Despite surging numbers of cases in Victoria, Australia has done relatively well in controlling the novel coronavirus so far, with around 9,000 cases and 106 deaths.

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