The federal government has announced 20 chartered flights to bring home the nearly 40,000 Australians who remain stranded abroad, amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
On Saturday, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Birmingham announced the charter flights, which will run between January 31 and March 31.
The announcement comes after the National Cabinet has temporarily reduced the number of international passengers arriving in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia due to the threat of the new COVID-19 strain from the UK, which is up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original.
Here's what you need to know.
How many Australians are stuck overseas?
There are about 37,000 Australians overseas who have told DFAT they want to come home.
Commercial services remain the main avenue for returning Australians, with these government chartered flights added on top of the current caps.
"These flights will bring people back from the United Kingdom, Europe, India and other places where vulnerable Australians are most in need of assistance," a statement from Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.
"These additional flights announced today will provide some hope and relief for Australians in vulnerable situations overseas."
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International caps on returning Australians.
Last week, the cap on international travellers were slashed in the face of the increasing threat of transmission overseas.
Now, until February 15, NSW will take in a maximum of 1,505 people a week into hotel quarantine. Queensland will have a maximum of 500 people weekly, and Western Australia will have a limit of 512.
It also comes as major airline Emirates has suspended their services to the east coast of Australia. The airline said it was due to "operational reasons".
Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Birmingham said their absence would not hinder flight availability to the east coast.
"The capacity that Emirates was able to use within the cap will be allocated to other airlines ensuring that there are still as many tickets into Australia after Emirates' decision as there would have been beforehand," he said.