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Aussies stranded overseas still facing wait to return home

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The federal government is working around the clock to bring Australians home amid the global coronavirus pandemic but it still faces major hurdles to repatriate residents.

The federal government is working around the clock to bring Australians home amid the global coronavirus pandemic but it still faces major hurdles to repatriate residents.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne told Today hundreds of thousands of Australians remain scattered across the globe under lockdowns.

They include hundreds stranded in Peru after the country closed its borders due to COVID 19.

"We know there are certain hotspots which are much more difficult to leave from than others. As I've said before, there are literally hundreds of thousands of Australians overseas at any one time," Senator Payne said.

Shweta Tee, a psychologist from Sydney, is also stranded in Peru and said the Australian Government should be doing more to help.

She said despite repeated travel warnings earlier this month some Australians continued to travel overseas, and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials are concentrating on extracting those in remote locations that present logistical hurdles.

"In some places it's much more difficult to leave. A good case in point is Peru at the moment. We are working closely with an Australian business in providing them assurances from Government, so they can assist Australians to leave. They are talks that are underway.

"There are a number of other areas where I'm also concerned, Nepal, Kathmandu in particular, South Africa has recently closed its flights down too. They are discussions we are having with international airlines and with travel businesses, in Peru in particular."

How coronavirus is spreading around the world.

Australians stranded in Peru have been told an emergency flight home will cost them more than $5000.

The Peruvian government declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus last week,, announcing it would be shutting down all international flights within 24 hours for at least two weeks.

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Limited commercial flights are still flying from some countries and cities but Australian travellers say lockdowns make it tough to even reach the airports.

The federal government has also ruled out evacuation flights such as the one earlier this year to Wuhan in China.

Marines stand guard as a passenger waits to reschedule a cancelled flight at a semi-closed airport, in Lima, Peru.

And Senator Payne warned when Australians finally arrive home, they risk spreading the virus and will face stringent screening and self isolation.

"We do know that the majority of aces in Australia are related to people who have returned from overseas," she said.

"We are very conscious of where people are coming from. You know that we imposed travel restrictions in relation to a number of countries some time ago now in relation to mainland China, in relation to mainland China, in relation to Iran, in relation to Northern Italy.

"Travellers from areas or people who have been in those areas in recent times are obviously flagged, we are obviously aware of that."

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-aussies-stranded-overseas-still-facing-wait-for-repatriation-marise-payne-dfat/c63c54d2-2ec6-42c4-b8e8-8cc7b91a4153

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