Australian Travel Restrictions Leave Thousands Stranded

Individuals impacted by the Australian restrictions have shared their stories and locations on (Photo courtesy of

By Michael Morano
International News Writer

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, countries across the world have implemented rules and regulations regarding their respective borders and travel. Depending on the severity of the outbreak in a particular country, these rules have ranged from erring on the side of leniency or, in the case of Australia and its citizens, strict prohibition on travel from within and without.

Australia has seen some of the most uncompromising travel measures during the outbreak, including banning foreigners from entering, citizens from leaving, and mandatory 14-day quarantine in hotels. At the same time, thousands of Australian citizens have been stuck in foreign countries, unable to return home. It is estimated that the number of stranded citizens is between 25,000 and 100,000. It is also worth noting that all of these citizens left the country before the outbreak fully developed in March, which means that these citizens have been stranded in foreign countries for over half a year. Due to this extremely lengthy time abroad, the citizens are now facing problems related to visa expiration, unemployment, and lack of healthcare. While there are some citizens with stable jobs in foreign countries, there are still many other Antipodeans who are not as fortunate.

In an effort to combat this situation, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has implemented a cap system which allows about 4,000 international arrivals into the country per week, with the cities of Sydney and Perth taking in the most flights. However, this causes another problem for the citizens, as the ticket prices for flights into the country have skyrocketed due to airlines raising prices to cover costs. Foreign airlines, primarily Qatar Airways and Emirates, have been the carriers used for the citizens’ re-entry, since Qantas, Australia’s national airline, has yet to resume international flights. Qatar Airways has even called on Morrison and the Australian government to increase the cap size in order to regain financial stability for the airline. Morrison has yet to provide a clear next step. Even those who have managed to buy a ticket home now face the chance of their tickets either getting cancelled or pushed back, some as far as into next year. This cap system is set to remain in place until October 24th.


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