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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to repatriate British citizens from (a) Australia and (b) New Zealand affected by the covid-19 outbreak.
As Parliament rose earlier than planned and the first day for answer of this PQ was after the Easter recess, due to the pace of developments during the COVID-19 crisis, I submitted a response by email on 2 April, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.
We are proactively engaging commercial airlines and governments worldwide, including for Australia and New Zealand, on keeping flight routes and transit hubs open to enable British Nationals to return home. Our High Commissioner in Canberra has written to the Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister on this issue. We are signposting British nationals to commercial flight options and continuing to explore new routes by which they can travel home. We have also set up an online registration tool for any British Nationals in Australia who require our support. Found at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/australia/return-to-the-uk
In New Zealand, the British High Commission in Wellington is fully staffed and doing all it can to support British Nationals at this time, including finding routes home. Our High Commission remains open to issue emergency travel documents. However, given the New Zealand Government's directive on social distancing, we are asking people not to visit our High Commission in Wellington or our Consulate in Auckland in person, and instead reach out via our online webform. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/new-zealand/coronavirus