Giulia De Bellis, 18 and Merle Guer, 19, are German backpackers heading home due to the coronavirus. Picture: Che Chorley
Giulia De Bellis, 18 and Merle Guer, 19, are German backpackers heading home due to the coronavirus. Picture: Che Chorley

Travellers rush home amid coronavirus fears

ANXIOUS travellers are rushing to get home following the news that flights are being cancelled and international airports are planning to close.

Security staff at the Darwin Domestic and International Airport wore face masks as they conducted security checks on the small number of travellers yesterday.

German backpackers Giulia de Bellis and Merle Guer told the NT News they had decided to cut their trip around Australia short and return from Darwin to Germany.

Giulia De Bellis, 18 and Merle Guer, 19, are German backpackers heading home because of coronavirus concerns. Picture: Che Chorley
Giulia De Bellis, 18 and Merle Guer, 19, are German backpackers heading home because of coronavirus concerns. Picture: Che Chorley

"We have to fly home, our parents are stressed," Ms de Bellis said.

"Emirates are already cancelling some future flights and we are flying with Emirates."

The pair said they were concerned they would soon no longer be able to catch their connecting flight through the Dubai airport.

"They are already stopping people coming into Dubai from overseas," Ms Guer said.

"We're worried they will close Dubai altogether."

Another traveller who was coming into Darwin from Dili, East Timor, Rosangela Tenorio, said she had received mixed messages about whether she would be able to return to her home city of Perth.

"I have heard that if you're an Australian resident you can go home," Ms Tenorio said.

"I'm not a citizen but I'm a permanent resident and I've received no information about what I have to do."

Rosangela Tenorio from Perth is returning home facing two weeks of quarantine after leaving Dili early due to the coronavirus. Picture: Che Chorley
Rosangela Tenorio from Perth is returning home facing two weeks of quarantine after leaving Dili early due to the coronavirus. Picture: Che Chorley

Ms Tenorio said the Dili airport was likely to be closed by Friday, meaning no one would be able to enter or leave the country.

One taxi driver at the airport, who did not wish to be named, said he had been spraying the inside of his car with antiseptic solution after each fare.

A spokesman from the Department of Home Affairs said they were "stepping up the screening of passengers at Australian airports" and advising passengers coming into Australia from overseas of the need to self-isolate.



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