Qantas flights to rescue Aussies stranded overseas


Foreign Minister Marise Payne says Qantas will provide specially chartered flights to get more Australians home.

Ms Payne told reporters in Canberra the government has finalised an agreement with Qantas to carry out "special facilitated flights" initially to Peru, Argentina and South Africa.

"Those planned Qantas flights are anticipated to take place over the next week, and follows on from another successful facilitated flight that occurred today, carrying about 280 Australians from Peru, who are now on their way to Australia," she said.


The government is also working to get Australians out of other countries including Cambodia, Nepal and Lebanon.

Ms Payne noted that a plane that arrived earlier this week was the first ever direct flight between Australia and Nepal.

Ms Payne, who was holding a joint conference with Health Minister Greg Hunt, said although the curve was flattening, there was "still a long way to go".

He warned Australians that this Easter was the time lives could be at risk as he urged people to stay at home.

"As we go into Easter with welcome news for Australia, the virus does not take a holiday - therefore none of us can relax in what we do," he said.

"This in many ways is the most important weekend we may face in the whole course of the virus.

"If we can lock in the gains that we've made as a nation through the courage and sacrifice of those on the health, medical and policing frontlines, but also through the immense goodwill and discipline of Australians, then we can help really protect Australian lives going forward and give ourselves the pathway through."