Australians stranded abroad by coronavirus slam Scott Morrison’s ‘heartless’ letter

Australians stranded abroad by coronavirus are outraged by a letter from Scott Morrison chastising them for not returning sooner.

More than 19,000 citizens and permanent residents stranded overseas are battling canceled flights that already cost $6,000 or more due to a cap on international arrivals.

Desperate to return, some have written to the prime minister personally pleading their situation and asking for the cap to be lifted.

Australians stranded abroad by coronavirus, like Maria Gk (pictured) are outraged by a letter from Scott Morrison chastising them for not returning sooner

This is the letter many Australians received in response from the Prime Minister, offering nothing but platitudes and the implication that they should have fired sooner

This is the letter many Australians received in response from the Prime Minister, offering nothing but platitudes and the implication that they should have fired sooner

Instead, they received identical letters offering “platitudes” and criticism for not returning in the early days of the pandemic.

“These are difficult days for our country. The Covid-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-hundred-year event – ​​an international health crisis,’ Mr Morrison began.

“That’s why I asked Australians to return home on March 17, 2020. At the time, DFAT specifically warned of hardship, noting that travel was becoming ‘more complex and difficult’.”

The inaccurate implication that all stranded Australians have no one to blame but themselves has sparked outrage from online support groups.

Thousands of Australians live permanently abroad and had no intention of returning until the pandemic cost them their jobs and visas long after March 17.

Others have been trapped when their countries abruptly closed roads and closed airports for months, and can only leave.

Kate Biggers Smith (pictured right with a family member) is stranded in the United Arab Emirates trying to catch a flight back to Australia

Kate Biggers Smith (pictured right with a family member) is stranded in the United Arab Emirates trying to catch a flight back to Australia

Mr Morrison’s letter continued with what many travelers saw as a condescending explanation for the border closure.

“Given the recent outbreaks, we have put measures in place to help manage the strain on quarantine facilities, including caps on international arrivals,” it read.

“I recognize that these measures are frustrating, but they are essential to continuing the success Australia has achieved so far in minimizing the national spread of the pandemic.”

Mr Morrison wrote that the caps were ‘flexible’ to ‘minimize disruption’ for returning Australians, but he showed no willingness to increase them.

“In the meantime, DFAT’s advice is clear: be patient; find a safe place to stay; follow the advice of local authorities and minimize your risk of exposure to Covid-19,” he continued.

“I appreciate the time you took to write to me and I wish you the best.”

Kelly LB from Britain is stuck overseas waiting for a flight home and says she is

Kelly LB, from Britain, is stuck overseas waiting for a flight home and said she was ‘furious’ to receive Mr Morrison’s ‘closed-minded’ letter.

Rifqa Hussein lives in Cairo but grew up in Brisbane and is trying to find her family in Australia

Rifqa Hussein lives in Cairo but grew up in Brisbane and is trying to find her family in Australia

Stranded Australians called Mr Morrison’s letter ‘heartless’ and ‘insensitive’ for offering no help and instead trying to blame it on them.

‘Wow! What an ignorant and arrogant answer! He says he protected Australia, but he’s not really protecting those Australians stuck overseas! we wrote.

Others noted that packing up and leaving with a few days’ notice was not possible for Australians who had lived overseas for years.

“Why don’t they understand that we had a job, a home and a life on March 17 – why on earth would we have uprooted everything to come back homeless and jobless when back then we could keep ourselves where we were. were?” we wrote.

“Nobody knew what was going to happen – it’s an ‘I told you so’ letter and ‘hard s**t’ – how very disappointing.”

The DFAT advisory that Mr Morrison referred to only told Australians to return if they “wish to return”, the government at the time encouraged anyone who is self-reliant to stay put.

Some travelers said they tried to follow the advice, but were trapped by foreign government shutdowns or many flights were cancelled.

‘Translation: We already warned you. We don’t really care about your situation. You are alone,” one wrote.

Strict arrival limits introduced last month mean the few airlines still serving Australia are canceling many flights as they are uneconomical

Strict arrival limits introduced last month mean the few airlines still serving Australia are canceling many flights as they are uneconomical

Australians trying to get home say they have been forced to buy business class tickets on planes with just 30 passengers.  Here a child is playing in the completely empty economy section

Australians trying to get home say they have been forced to buy business class tickets on planes with just 30 passengers. Here a child is playing in the completely empty economy section

Another wrote: “Yes, they asked us to go home as soon as possible, [but] I’ve been trying to get home since March when he originally said that.

Strict arrival limits introduced last month mean the few airlines that still fly to Australia are canceling many flights because they are uneconomical.

Travelers say they have been bumped out of up to eight flights in a row or forced to buy business class tickets on planes with just 30 passengers.

One-way flights from London, for reference, over the next two weeks are only affordable if they are two- or three-stop marathons bouncing around the world.

Even these cost over $5,000 in Sydney, dropping to $2,000 in September, but are mostly on several airlines with a risk of being blocked halfway through.

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