The heartache for 40,000 Aussies stranded overseas looks set to remain.
International borders will remain closed for at least another three months despite more than 40,000 Australians who remain stranded across the globe due to COVID-19.
The latest extension means Australia's borders will have been closed to the world for 15 months.
Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday confirmed the three month extension to the existing emergency period would be granted following advice from the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee (AHPPC) and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly.
READ MORE: WA Premier's proposal for post-COVID border control sparks backlash
The plan stipulates the date for border reopening to June 17, 2021, however Australia could reopen sooner "if no longer needed".
An early reopening of international travel relies on a swift rollout of vaccination programs and are proven to be effective against new and emerging variants.
The announcement follows desperate calls from Australian airport operators to kick-start the pandemic-stricken aviation sector.
Last week, James Goodwin, Chief Executive of the Australian Airports Association, spoke with Today after Qantas announced that international flights would resume in October.
READ MORE: Protesters march on Parliament against Victoria's state of emergency
"We know that international travel is really necessary to get the sector and get the economy back on track," he said.
"What we really want to see is a phased reopening of those borders to rebuild confidence to travel. And we want to get people filling those aircraft and filling our airports."
Mr Goodwin said airports in Australia had been losing about $320 million every month through the pandemic and 25 per cent of the workforce had lost their jobs in the past 12 months.
READ MORE: 300,000 doses of COVID vaccines to roll out in next 10 days
International border closures are also impacting Australia's agriculture and food industry with the cost of fruit and vegetables set to increase as much as 30 per cent due to a shortage of overseas workers.
Despite a raft of incentives in place for Australians to work on farms in regional areas not enough people are taking them up with farmers calling for a quarantine system which could allow for larger numbers of international arrivals.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-international-border-ban-extended-until-june-thousands-stranded-overseas/104d4a3b-6483-4f14-9677-8c426504b7d8