Aviation

Australia to increase weekly cap on international arrivals, as National Cabinet mulls alternative quarantine options

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that the number of international arrivals allowed each week will increase from next month.

Following a National Cabinet meeting on Friday, the Prime Minister’s office announced hundreds more spaces will be provided on existing international commercial flights for vulnerable Aussies where possible, on top of the current weekly cap of 6,000.

This includes an additional 140 arrivals per week into Perth, 100 arrivals every 14 to 16 days into Adelaide, and 150 arrivals per week into Queensland.

A further arrangement, soon to be finalised with the Australian Capital Territory, will support 150 returning Australians every 16 to 18 days.

Australia’s Prime Minister said Tasmania has also offered further support where required.

Of the 26,000 Aussies abroad who registered to come home in September, 4,100 of those were vulnerable.

“So far, 1,278 of that vulnerable cohort have come home, according to the Prime Minister.

“That doesn’t include those who’ve just arrived in Darwin and 4,591 have otherwise returned out of that cohort of 26,200.

“So, we continue to make good progress towards returning Australians home. And we want to do that as effectively and quickly, as safely as possible.”

ScoMo said it was the National Cabinet’s goal to get those 26,000 Australians home by Christmas.

The National Cabinet has agreed to keep working on “risk stratification as an appropriate approach to progressively increasing the number of international arrivals to Australia in a COVID-safe manner, including Australians returning home”.

Potential alternative approaches could include home quarantine, on-farm quarantine, quarantine by universities and private providers, and the use of technology and expanding international travel arrangements with very low risk countries and cohorts.

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