A “important quantity” of Australians attempting to make it house for Christmas have been left stranded after Singapore and Hong Kong launched bans on travellers from the UK transiting by way of its airports.
Dozens of nations throughout the globe have introduced bans on people travelling from the UK prior to now few days in an try and halt the unfold of a variant of the Covid-19 virus circulating in south-east England.
Amongst these are Singapore and Hong Kong, two main transit routes for travellers to Australia from the UK. Singapore’s ministry of well being stated guests who’ve just lately travelled to the UK could be denied entry to the nation from midnight on 23 December. The ban consists of these transiting by way of the nation’s airport.
“There have been latest reviews of a probably extra contagious pressure of the Covid-19 virus circulating within the UK,” the ministry stated.
“Officers inside the UK are additionally involved about this new virus and have put in place extra stringent restrictions, together with imposing a brand new lockdown in London. To scale back the danger of unfold to Singapore, we’re setting up new border restrictions for travellers from UK for additional precaution.”
The transfer has left 1000’s of Australians looking for to return house stranded, and the excessive fee within the UK says it has been inundated by calls from Australians who had meant on travelling by way of Singapore or Hong Kong.
“We’re completely conscious of the disruption these measures have induced, and we perceive the numerous numbers of individuals it has impacted – our workforce shall be offering help,” the excessive fee wrote on Fb on Wednesday.
“These restrictions, put in place by different nations, aren’t even 24 hours previous. We’re working very onerous to search out options – and we completely perceive the stress this causes within the interim … we’re working by way of the evening on an answer and can maintain everybody posted right here.”
Amongst these left stranded by the border closures is Vanessa and Sean Simpson’s 26-year-old son, Jacob.
Jacob, a main faculty instructor who has been residing in London for the previous two years, had been attributable to fly again to Australia on Singapore Airways on Christmas Eve earlier than his UK residency visa expires on Boxing Day.
“He phoned us final evening to say that Singapore Airways had cancelled the flight,” Vanessa stated. “My husband and myself made a number of calls, emails, all types of issues to attempt to both change the flight or get him an earlier one they usually’ve mainly simply stated no we are able to’t enable you.
“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, to be trustworthy, as a result of we thought he was coming house and now he’s not and we don’t know once we’ll be capable of get him on a flight.
“He feels sick about all of it as a result of he doesn’t know what he’s going to do.”
The international affairs minister, Marise Payne, stated the federal government would think about organising extra flights for Australians affected by the newest border closures.
“We’re facilitating flights from a spread of nations together with the UK,” she stated on Wednesday. “Flights from London are attributable to arrive in Darwin on 30 December and 16 January.
“The federal government will think about working additional facilitated flights for Australians whose flights have been cancelled attributable to border closures.”
Greater than 36,800 Australians abroad who needed to return house had registered with the Division of Overseas Affairs and Commerce as of the top of November.
Jacob’s father, Sean, implored the federal authorities to take extra motion to assist the thousands of Australians still overseas trying to return home.
“We actually don’t assume the federal government is doing sufficient for the Australians who’re nonetheless stranded and the households which are right here ready and never figuring out,” he stated.
“We’re one household however lots of people have it worse. We’re not simply talking for Jacob, there are millions of Australians who need their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, moms and dads house.
“He has buddies and we have now some contacts in London that he might be able to stick with, however he’s primarily homeless. However we’re a few of the fortunate ones, not everybody has that and you recognize there’s 19-, 20-year-old children attempting to get house who may need 40 cents to their title.”