For the third time in the past year, Georgina Trigg and her family have packed their things and preparing to leave Dubai.
But their future plans were thrown back into chaos over the weekend by a familiar email: Their flight to Melbourne was canceled.
- Ms. Trigg’s family was told the cancellation was due to Victoria’s break in international arrivals
- A Melbourne woman who returned via Sydney says Victoria has a reputation for being insecure with the hotel quarantine
- Government says it is appropriate for flights to remain pending until a review of the most virulent species is completed
Victoria “suspended” international flights in mid-February when Prime Minister Daniel Andrews announced the five-day blockade. But it is costing about $ 1 million a day to run the state hotel quarantine scheme.
The closure was prompted by a coronavirus outage linked to the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airporthotel, which saw that the UK’s most virulent strain of the virus is derived from the quarantine system and the community. In total, 24 cases were related to the explosion.
A team of medical experts, led by Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng, is conducting a review of new strains of the virus and their impact on the hotel quarantine system.
“Appropriately it is appropriate that international arrivals remain prohibited until that work is done,” said a government spokesman.
As a result, Victoria’s commitment to receiving 1,310 international arrivals per week has been left pending.
Ms Trigg said the family was told by the Emirates that the April 15 flight had been canceled because the airport was closed and, due to weekly quotas, they could not be changed.
The closed Australian border and a national limit on the number of people allowed home per week has seen thousands of people stranded, with many canceling their flights repeatedly.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) says about 37,000 people are currently registered in the department as foreigners and wanting to return.
“Over 484,000 Australians have returned to Australia since the government recommended that people reconsider the need to travel abroad,” a DFAT spokesman said.
“Since the start of the pandemic, DFAT has helped over 42,500 Australians return to over 500 flights including over 17,000 people on 115 government-facilitated flights.”
Other states seen as ‘more credible’
Melbourne woman Libby Crozier was living and working in Paris when the pandemic struck.
After her first flight cancellation was canceled in May 2020, she aimed for the “realistic goal” of being home by Christmas, to move away from further flights in June, July, August, September, October and December.
For most of that time, the quarantine system at the Melbourne hotel was shut down as the state struggled with its second deadly wave. As some airlines redirected their flights, Ms. Crozier was not given the option.
She then lost all available flights to Melbourne before the “reset” scheme resumes on December 6th. Being a disguised blessing, as it was a flight to Sydney that finally allowed him to return home.
Below the current national border limits set by the National Cabinet, New South Wales receives nearly half of Australia’s arrivals, at 3,010 per week.
Queensland receives about 1,000 a week, South Australia receives more than 500, and the Northern Territory Howard Springs structures will soon receive up to 2,000 Australians repatriated in two weeks.
After the National Cabinet on March 5, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had regularly asked Victoria to resume flights.
Ms Crozier said in online forums for thousands of Australians overseas, Melbourne was seen as the worst place to book flights.
“I do not understand why they can not solve it like other states.”
Ms. Trigg was pregnant when the pandemic struck and now has a five-month-old baby, as well as two other young children.
She said the process of leaving the UAE involved breaking rent, legally being required to close bank accounts, claiming the equivalent of an annual pension, putting items up for sale and managing school enrollment for her two older children.
“It’s not like we just rotate being flexible to fly when we want to,” Ms. Trigg said.
“We have considered the movement of our flight to Sydney [at a cost] but we thought, ‘No, this is months away. “They will have solved it by then,” she added.
“Oh, how wrong we were.”
She says without upgrading to a business class flight to Perth or Sydney, at a cost of at least $ 10,000, the next flight to Melbourne is in June. Their only other option is to give up the thousands of dollars spent on their flights and try booking with another airline.
Government Minister Jaala Pulford on Sunday said there were no announcements to be made, but the National Cabinet will discuss the release when the next meth is made on April 9th.
“Our main imperative is to keep the Victorian community safe,” Ms Pulford said.
“We understand that all jurisdictions have a role to play in helping people who may be stranded overseas return, and when public health councils determine it is safe to do so, further announcements.”
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