Exasperated Matildas veteran Elise Kellond-Knight took to Twitter after a series of flights returning to Australia, to voice her concerns that the coronavirus crack down was having the reverse effect.
The Australian government's department of foreign affairs and trade, DFAT, warned all Australians overseas to return home due to a spate of flight cancellations over the outbreak of COVID-19.
Australian airline Qantas has announced it will ground 90% of its international flights and 60% of domestic, while the government prepares a $715 million bail-out package for Australian airlines affected by the pandemic.
Kellond-Knight, returning through Dubai, said that DFAT's calls to return had resulted in a vast increase in travellers.
I think I’ve misunderstood something. Why has everyone been instructed to return home? It’s encouraged MORE people to travel. I just had two FULL flights and saw a record mass of people transiting through Dubai. Maybe counter productive?— Elise Kellond-Knight (@elise_kk8) March 18, 2020
Flights have been grounded finally. The airport was honestly the most crowded I’ve ever seen it 😱. Social distancing was adopted in queues 😂— Elise Kellond-Knight (@elise_kk8) March 18, 2020
DFAT said that the department's warnings were necessary advice, given the uncertain situation regarding airline travel.
With Europe preparing to close its borders and significant parts of Asia and North America instituting travel bans in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, Australians currently overseas may not be able to return home for an undetermined period of time in the near future.
Australia's governmental travel advisor website, SmartTraveller, currently advises Australians "Do not travel overseas at this time. If you wish to return home, do so as soon as possible."