By Swati Pandey
SYDNEY, Jan 18 (Reuters) – As prime tennis stars descended on Melbourne for the upcoming tennis grand slam, many Australians questioned the choice to host the event when 1000’s of residents are stranded abroad because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia has halved the quantity of people that can return to the nation every week as constructive coronavirus circumstances in resort quarantine rise, prompting airline Emirates to indefinitely droop flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Australians criticised the federal government on social media, questioning the way it might make room for 1,200 tennis gamers and their entourages for subsequent month’s Australian Open, however not its personal residents.
“If you wish to come to Australia throughout a pandemic it’s a must to be a sports activities star, film superstar or a billionaire media tycoon,” stated person Daniel Bleakley on Twitter, utilizing the hashtag #strandedAussies. “Citizenship and an Australian passport alone aren’t sufficient.”
Others stated the funds used to host the event might have been diverted to spice up resort quarantine amenities and healthcare programs to assist convey again stranded Aussies.
Officers in Victoria state, house to the Open, stated internet hosting the event didn’t come at the price of about 40,000 stranded Australians.
“No-one has been put aside coming from different jurisdictions into Victoria by advantage of the Australian Open going forward,” stated Brett Sutton, Victoria chief medical officer. “They’re separate choices which can be made upon their very own deserves.”
Australia, which has managed the coronavirus higher than many different nations via focused lockdowns and excessive charges of testing and make contact with tracing, reported zero native COVID-19 circumstances on Monday.
However including to the frustration for stranded Australians, the top of well being division on Monday warned Australia may not absolutely reopen its worldwide borders this 12 months.
“Even when we’ve got numerous the inhabitants vaccinated, we do not know whether or not that may forestall transmission of the virus,” Brendan Murphy instructed the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Australia has reported 9 constructive COVID-19 outcomes related to tennis, prompting authorities to ship three Australian Open constitution flights into laborious quarantine and forcing greater than 70 gamers into 14-day resort room isolation.
The nation has recorded greater than 22,000 native COVID-19 circumstances and 909 deaths for the reason that pandemic started. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg reiterated on Monday the federal government was dedicated to bringing again its residents.
“Relating to Australian who’re stranded…we, because the federal authorities, are working to assist extra Australians get again house,” Frydenberg instructed reporters in Melbourne, including 446,000 Australians have returned for the reason that pandemic started in March.
The federal government on Saturday introduced further 20 repatriation flights to convey again stranded Aussies, saying they might not be counted inside the present traveller caps.
(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Modifying by Michael Perry and Lincoln Feast)
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