Some 39,000 Australians stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic have registered to return home, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, noting that the largest number of more than 10,000 are from India.
At a press conference after holding the 32nd National Cabinet where leaders discussed Australia’s economic recovery after COVID-19, Morrison said that more than 45,950 Australian citizens have been repatriated since September 18 this year and almost 39,000 still they are registered to return.
“The largest area, the largest number of people looking to return home is from India. There are over 10,000 there. There are around 5,000 in the UK and there are a variety of other countries. We are constantly monitoring that level of Australians who they are looking to go home, “he said.
“Our first priority is for Australians to return home. But we will continue to monitor through direct contact with people abroad on the need to return home,” Morrison said.
“That (situation) may change over the next month. That may change as vaccines are introduced, particularly in the UK, which is one of the key areas from where Australians are looking to return home,” he said.
At the cabinet meeting, Morrison also discussed the response to COVID-19 and Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy with leaders.
When asked whether Australians will be allowed to travel freely abroad for work and holiday purposes once they have been vaccinated, Morrison said “there are still decisions to be made.”
On the issue of returning international students, Morrison said that the federal government would put its returning citizens and residents first – that’s the priority for hotel quarantine in Australia.
“Of course we want to see a resumption of so many aspects of trade in services that Australia has international students as an important part of that. But they cannot do it at the expense of Australian citizens, who have every right to return to their country. of origin., particularly when we see worldwide the greater anguish than the rest of the world, “he said.
There have been 28,011 confirmed cases in Australia and the death toll stood at 908.
Currently, there are around 50 active cases in the country, all in hotel quarantine and in the last week there have been no cases of community transmission.