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.

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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."