Melbourne has requested other states in Australia accept international flights. Picture: David Clark
Melbourne has requested other states in Australia accept international flights. Picture: David Clark

Australia's new home for overseas flights

Canberra has indicated it would accept international flights that need to be diverted from Melbourne amid an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has requested overseas flights be directed elsewhere for at least two weeks while the state battles a significant spate of COVID-19, with New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian declining to assist.

"NSW has borne the overwhelming burden of returning Aussies on behalf of the nation, Victoria has as well to some extent," Ms Berekiklian said. "It's fair given those diversions that other states take on those flights (to) Melbourne. "

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said while the ACT would cater to overseas flights, they would only allow one plane of passengers in hotel quarantine at a time.

"If we are asked and there are no alternatives and those people do need to get back into Australia, then we wouldn't refuse," Mr Barr said.

"But I'm not out there advocating for more of those flights to come to Canberra."

Defending her decision not to accept international flights being diverted from Melbourne, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian took a subtle swipe at other states who'd had their coronavirus tallies reduced as a result of her accepting flights.

"Ironically, some of the other states have been able to benefit from saying they've got zero cases because we've taken care of their people here in New South Wales and counted them as our cases in quarantine," the Premier said.

"And so all I'm suggesting is perhaps for consideration be given.

"And the Prime Minister was very open to this because New South Wales has borne the overwhelming burden of returning Aussies on behalf of the nation.

"At the moment we've got 4800 (people) in hotel quarantine we're looking after on behalf of the nation. And that's why I think it's fair for other states to also accept some of those flights."

It comes as Premier Andrews announced an investigation into the state's hotel quarantine program, after private security guards working at the quarantine hotels were linked to the current spread of the virus.

Meanwhile several postcodes in Victoria have today woken to strict new restrictions, with the more than 310,000 residents who occupy the hotspots only able to leave the house for four reasons. They are: exercise, food, caregiving and work/school.

 

Originally published as Australia's new home for overseas flights



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