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PM promises stranded Australians that country will re-open as vaccination numbers rise

Source: Moment RF

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has thanked expats around the world for carrying a very heavy burden during the pandemic. Mr Morrison has acknowledged it's been a very difficult and frustrating time for them. He assured them that once vaccination rates lift, Australia will re-open and they'll be able to quarantine at home if they're fully vaccinated.

Thousands of Australians and permanent residents have been unable to return because of the quarantine caps which have forced airlines to fly with very limited passenger numbers.

To try to make up the lost revenue of flying to and from Australia with few and sometimes no passengers, the airlines have been charging exorbitant airfares.

Matt Coyle is the founder of the Melbourne Travel Project, a travel agency based on Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula and has helped stranded people return to Australia.

He says the airfares his customers are having to pay are extremely expensive.

"A one way flight from Montreal into Australia for $24,000 for one person. The standard price for an economy seat is about $5000, if you can get one, and now they average, probably business class is, around about somewhere between $12,000 and $16,000 for one person, one way."

As the states and territories try to lift vaccination rates ahead of planned re-openings, there are also proposals to eventually offer Australians booster shots.

The World Health Organisation has spent the past month urging rich nations not to offer boosters until people in developing countries have had a chance to get protection from COVID-19.

Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the rich nations are just not heeding the W-H-O pleas. 

"A month ago, I called for a global moratorium on booster doses, at least until the end of September, to prioritise vaccinating the most at risk people around the world who are yet to receive their first dose. There has been little change in the global situation since then. So today I'm calling for an extension of the moratorium until at least the end of the year to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40 per cent of its population."

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People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 meters away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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