Living in London, the epicentre of the UKs COVID-19 crisis, I was amongst many Australians living abroad who considered returning home once cases started to spread globally.
Following advice from the Australian High Commission in the United Kingdom on “Should I stay or go?”, I chose to stay, due to having a good supportive network and a current contract with the National Health Service, with redeployment to important COVID-19 research.
As of February 2020, I had also begun a dual Masters with UNSW in Health Leadership and Management/ Infectious Disease Intelligence, occupying my newfound extra time during lockdowns.
However, by July 2020, when the Australian government began including caps on arrivals, causing numerous flight delays and cancellations, I took the plunge of booking a flight home. Additionally, I also wanted to avoid paying for hotel quarantine that had already been implemented in QLD, not to mention the threat of paying for a business class ticket that I did not have the money for.
What followed for me mirrored many other experiences of citizens stuck abroad, with flight delays, cancellations and anxiously seeking daily updates from supportive Facebook groups, to receive clarity that was not being communicated from the Australian Government.
It was clear upon my return home that the difficulties I faced did not even touch on the seriousness of others, with people claiming differing levels of homelessness, depression, increased anxiety, and financial distress.
After sharing my experience with my research project supervisor Associate Professor Holly Seale from UNSW School of Population Health, a study formed.
This study is aimed at examining the experiences that citizens abroad had, when trying to return to their country of residence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, we are interested in seeking those, from any country, who have been “stuck abroad” due to international travel restrictions.
If you have had similar experiences and wish to take part in this study, it involves a short 7-10minute survey. Please follow the link.
Contact Name :
UNSW School of Population Health