More than 45,000 Australians who were trapped abroad applied for government assistance.

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Here is the latest Australia’s current happenings. 

The number of Australians stranded overseas who require government assistance to get home has risen to more over 45,000 in recent months, following a further tightening of entry caps and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

While the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade initially established the stranded Australians register for those in need of assistance due to Covid-related travel issues, registrations from Australians left behind in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan have increased dramatically since the evacuation mission ended late last month.
Following the lowering of passenger arrival caps across the country in July, the number of Australians detained overseas has risen dramatically in recent months, with some commercial planes being forced to rely on cargo to cover operating costs.

Afghanistan, along with India, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Pakistan, is now among the top five nations where Australians are requesting government assistance to return.

Due to the Covid epidemic, aircraft were grounded and parked at the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage facility in Alice Springs.

Airlines have issued a warning. NSW may reopen to international travel, but only a few flights will be available to meet the high demand.

Outside of Afghanistan, certain airlines, such as Singapore Airlines and All Nippon Airways, have decided to further limit their already reduced services into Australia in the coming months, bringing the total number of nationals and permanent residents registered with Dfat to 45,200.

This is up from 38,000 people on the organization’s aid list at the end of July.

According to DFAT, 4,700 of the total number of stranded people are considered vulnerable.

Due to the Covid epidemic, aircraft were grounded and parked at the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage facility in Alice Springs.

Airlines have issued a warning. NSW may reopen to international travel, but only a few flights will be available to meet the high demand.

DFAT has stopped publishing a breakdown of how many stranded Australians are registered in each nation, something it used to do regularly during the pandemic.

When asked for a breakdown, a spokeswoman told Guardian Australia that “the number of registrations continues to fluctuate as people’ circumstances change.”

Scott Morrison did not provide a figure for how many Australians officials were not left behind when he said Australia has suspended evacuation planes from Afghanistan on August 27. Prior to the suspension of flights, Australia evacuated around 4,100 citizens and visa-holding Afghans from Kabul.

Australians trapped in London held a vigil outside the Australian High Commission on Sunday to protest the challenging border circumstances that prevent them from returning home.
These pressures were exacerbated at the end of August when Gladys Berejiklian, the Premier of New South Wales, announced that the state would further reduce its international arrivals intake to about 750 people per week, allowing health workers in the hotel quarantine system to be redeployed to the state’s overburdened hospital system.

The current foreign passenger intake in Australia is 2,285 persons per week, which is lower than when the quarantine cap was first implemented in July 2020. In recent months, many international airlines have gradually withdrawn from Australian routes.

The few airlines that still travel to Australia are currently flying flights into Sydney airport with around 6,000 vacant seats per day, carrying barely 110 people in total.

 

To fly internationally, Australian nationals still need a travel ban exception.

At the same time as announcing her temporary halving of passenger intake, Berejiklian promised that once NSW met its 80 percent double-dose vaccination target, it would ramp up its quarantine intake again, and revealed a desire for NSW to repatriate a larger share of Australians, including those from other states, in time to spend Christmas at home.

On Friday, Berejiklian announced that beginning at the end of this month, a seven-day house quarantine for overseas arrivals will be trialed, with a home quarantine system for fully vaccinated returnees to follow after greater vaccination rates are attained.

Singapore Airlines has canceled a slew of flights to Australia in the coming months, citing a lack of certainty over plans to relax passenger quotas ahead of Christmas.

 

Foreign airlines will not be able to ramp up operations in time for the mass reopening, according to the executive director of the Board of Airline Representatives of Australia, Barry Abrams, who said last week that they will need several months to recall laid-off staff and retrieve planes that have been parked in deserts.

 

The Morrison government stated on Monday that it would extend a $750 per week aviation support program for cabin crew and pilots to foreign carriers through March, at a cost of $183 million, indicating that the industry will not expand considerably until next year.

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