The Western Australian government may underwrite flights to get people stranded due to COVID-19 back home and residents home.
Premier Mark McGowan is looking at options to fly out about 650 passengers from the Vasco Da Gama cruise ship who have completed their 14-day quarantine period in Perth.
Most are from the eastern states while a few are from overseas.
The passengers finished their quarantine on April 10 and have been moved to a Perth hotel, until they can fly home.
McGowan told reporters on Sunday that the state may have to work with Qantas to underwrite flights to get people home, and Western Australians back in the state.
“Getting them home is not easy… Virgin has essentially stopped, Qantas has wound back its flights so much that it’s very difficult to get flights home for these people,” McGowan said.
“It may mean the state needs to work with Qantas to support flights or underwrite flights to get people from the east home but also to get West Australians back here.”
The state recorded just an increase of three cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 517.
Almost 240 people with COVID-19 have recovered while 38 people are still in hospital.
Two cruise ships off the state’s coast are yet to pass Fremantle and go north, following the lead of five others.
By Christine McGinn