Scott Morrison promises Australians stuck overseas they will be able to return this year and quarantine at home as he thanks them for carrying a ‘very heavy burden’
- PM promises Australians stranded overseas will return home later this year
- Scott Morrison thanked expats for their patience in a pre-recorded message
- Mr Morrison also flagged home quarantine as a ‘primary and viable’ option
- He also urged vaccination is the key to having international borders reopen
Scott Morrison has thanked Australians stranded overseas for carrying a ‘very heavy burden’ – many for up to a year.
Returning Australians will be able to quarantine at home in coming weeks, and international travel and holidays could restart as early as November.
‘We are looking forward to welcoming many people back home soon. We can get there this year,’ the prime minister said in a video message to expats.
‘I thank you once again for your patience and enduring what has been a very frustrating and very difficult time for you.’
Mr Morrison said vaccination was vital for the country reopening with inoculated Australians permitted to quarantine at home once immunisation targets are reached.
‘We’re working to implement the national plan that will bring you home, that will bring us all together again, connect us again to Australians and connect Australians to the world,’ he said.
‘The foundation of that is of course the vaccination plan and there is no more powerful weapon against Covid-19 than vaccination.’
Scott Morrison has sent a message to Australians stranded overseas for the last 18 month urging them to get vaccinated so they can return home this year (pictured)
The prime minister urged Australians overseas to get vaccinated so they could have an easier time getting home and be able to skip hotel quarantine.
‘Australia opens up, Australians can leave and return, Australians overseas and are vaccinated can come home,’ he said.
Mr Morrison said the government helped bring 53,000 Australians home including 167 repatriation flights since the pandemic began.
But more than 30,000 Australians are still stranded overseas due to flight caps and many are unable to foot the $3,000 hotel quarantine bill.
The prime minister said he was working closely with state and territory governments to ensure home quarantine would become a ‘primary and viable’ method of isolation.
A home quarantine trial is underway in South Australia for people returning from interstate travel in the hopes it could soon replace the existing hotel system.
Once vaccination targets of 70 and 80 per cent were reached the borders will reopen (pictured, a women receives Pfizer dose)
There are currently more than 38,000 Aussies unable to return home due to strict border closures and flight caps
The federal government is preparing to roll out of vaccine passports from October so international travel can resume after borders reopen.
The plan would allow the country to ‘say goodbye’ to lockdowns in two stages titled phase B and phase C when 70 and 80 per cent of over 16s are vaccinated.
Australia is almost halfway to the reopening threshold at 39 per cent.
Mr Morrison ended his message by thanking overseas Australians for their patience and endurance, acknowledging the difficulty the pandemic brought them.
‘We’re getting through it, we’re almost there,’ he said. ‘Thank you, I look forward to welcoming you home.’