Australians in London, India and South Africa will be given access to charter flights to bring them home under a deal finalised today by the federal and Northern Territory governments.
The decision will give thousands of people currently stuck overseas the chance to come home and quarantine in the Howard Springs facility, 25 kilometres south of Darwin.
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it would mean around 5,000 extra people would be able to return on the flights between now and March, but not all would quarantine in the Top End.
He said flights from the United Kingdom would be first.
“Not all of those will necessarily go to Howard Springs, but those flights … the seats on those flights are being sold by Qantas,” Mr Morrison said.
At the front of the line to come home will be Australians the Federal Government considers to be “vulnerable”.
Mr Morrison said the agreement would last until March 2021, but could be extended beyond then and the capacity at the facility extended if possible.
“That would give us, roughly, over that period of time, given the two-week quarantine period plus the cleansing of the facility in between groups coming through of around about 5,000 people over that period of time,” he said.
More to come.