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Numbers cut on three repatriation flights

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Australians stranded overseas have been dealt another blow, with passenger numbers halved on three repatriation flights because of new caps on international arrivals.

There are also reports some commercial flights have been abruptly cancelled without explanation.

National cabinet last week resolved to halve incoming passenger caps in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia until mid-February to reduce the risk of exposure to the highly contagious UK strain of coronavirus.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed three flights into Brisbane have been affected.

"Three Australian government facilitated commercial flights arriving in Brisbane in the coming weeks have had their passenger numbers reduced by 50 per cent based on the decision by national cabinet to halve international arrivals from 15 January to 15 February," a departmental spokesman told AAP on Tuesday.

"Numbers on all facilitated flights are restricted by caps as applied by states and territories and agreed by national cabinet."

While the Northern Territory plans to increase its intake of international arrivals over the next few weeks, the overall number of returning Australians will be significantly reduced across the country.

Passengers will also need to return a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight to Australia.

Around 37,000 Australians stranded overseas have told DFAT they want to return.

More repatriation flights are slated in coming weeks for vulnerable Australians stuck in the UK, India and the US.

© AAP 2021

Tags: coronavirus