News National Nearly 14,000 Australians remain overseas amid pandemic

Nearly 14,000 Australians remain overseas amid pandemic

Labor wants the government to do more to bring home Australians stuck overseas due to coronavirus, with 14,000 registered with embassies since the outbreak. Photo: Getty
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Nearly 14,000 Australians have registered with overseas embassies since the outbreak of coronavirus.

Not everyone who has registered necessarily wants to come home but more than 280,000 Australian citizens have returned in recent weeks.

The federal government provided support to 10,000 of these people.

There is no precise figure on how many people are still looking to return, however 220 in Lebanon are desperate to come back.

The foreign affairs department is working to rescue more stranded Australians.

“Our posts around the world continue to work with local officials and commercial carriers to find commercial options for Australians to fly home,” a department spokesman told AAP.

Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong says the government needs to be doing more.

“We have an alarming number of Australians still stranded and at risk,” she told ABC radio.

Senator Wong said Australia had not yet organised any evacuation flights from India, unlike the United Kingdom, which has arranged 12 government-chartered flights this week.

Almost half of the Australians registered abroad are in India.

Related: Mercy flights arrive as travellers return from overseas

Australians have been told to use commercial means to get home where possible, or find ways to get to the key hubs where Qantas and Virgin are still running flights: London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Auckland.

But Senator Wong said for Australians in some countries, commercial flights were no longer an option.

“Whether that’s working with the private sector or otherwise is what the government needs to do,” she said.

AUSTRALIANS OVERSEAS

* India: 6600
* Indonesia: 2900
* Thailand: 1600
* Philippines: 1100
* South Africa: 650
* Bangladesh: 400
* Lebanon: 220
* Chile: 200
* Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay: 200
(Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

-with AAP