PM Morrison promises home quarantine for returning Aussies

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on THursday promised citizens stranded overseas that home quarantine on arrival in the country will be available soon.

Morrison acknowledged the “very heavy burden” carried by Australians who have been stuck overseas since the start of the pandemic, reports xinhua news agency.

“I know, for Australians overseas, it has been a very difficult and frustrating time,” he said in a video message to an awards event, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

So far, about 38,000 Australian citizens and residents overseas had registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to return home.

Morrison previously promised Australians overseas that they would be home by December 2020 but domestic outbreaks of Covid-19 interrupted the hotel quarantine system.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has criticised the Prime Minister for the delay, saying that Morrison had not done enough to help Australians stranded overseas get home.

Morrison said that the government was working to make home quarantine the “primary” option for arrivals rather than hotel quarantine, significantly boosting the number of people who can enter the country.

On Thursday morning, Australia reported 1,745 new locally-acquired cases of Covid-19, taking the overall infection tally to 66,318, while the death toll stood at 1,013.

Of the new cases, 1,405 were from New South Wales (NSW), the country’s most populous state and the current epicentre of the pandemic, where the health department also recorded five deaths.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded 15 new cases, taking the number of active cases in the nation’s capital to 227.

So far about 64 pe rcent of Australians aged 16 and over had received at least one coronavirus vaccine and 39 per cent were fully inoculated, according to the Department of Health.