Coronavirus: Australian PM tells tourists and backpackers to go home

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Tourists to Australia were urged to return home immediately amid the coronavirus crisis (Photo: Matrix Media)

The Australian Prime Minister has asked all foreign visitors and students to leave the country amidst the rage of backpackers for ignoring the rules of social distancing.

Scott Morrison said that those with essential skills – such as visiting doctors and nurses – were encouraged to stay, but it was time for everyone else to “go home”.

It comes after a hostel in Sydney was closed by the police, who were called to break up a party. Tourists also packed up at Bondi Beach travelers ’hotspot despite warnings not to gather outside during the coronavirus crisis.

Morrison did not order the strangers to leave while speaking at a press conference on Friday, but said they will not be a priority during the pandemic.

Backpackers leave Bondi and head to Sydney Airport after Scott Morrison’s call to return home (Photo: Matrix Media)
PM did not order them to leave but said it was in their best interests (Photo: Matrix media)

Mr. Morrison said, “How nice to have visitors to Australia at the right times, at times like this, if you are a visitor to this country, it’s time … to go home.

“Australia needs to focus on its citizens and residents to ensure that we can maximize the economic supports we have. “

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Australia has so far confirmed 5,330 cases of the virus with 30 deaths.

It is not known how many foreigners stay in the country on visitor, student or work visas. Thousands of people have rushed to return home after airlines have canceled or significantly reduced their flights.

A general view of a closed Bondi beach, where travelers have gathered despite advice not to do so (Photo: Getty)

Australia has not closed its borders, but some young travelers have complained that they are effectively trapped in the country because the available flights cost thousands.

Morrison’s comments come as a group of Covid-19 cases was confirmed among “infected backpackers” in the Sydeny to Bondi area earlier this week.

Australian hostels are allowed to stay open under current restrictions, but social gatherings have been limited to two people.

Morrison said it would be in the best interests of foreigners to leave “to make sure you can get the supports available where they are in your home country.”

Morrison added that people with various visa arrangements “are not necessarily detained here”.

“If they are unable to support themselves, there is an alternative for them to return to their country of origin,” he said.

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