AS MANY as 65 Irish doctors based in Australia are pleading for help from the Irish government to get home after they quit their jobs in order to fight the spread of coronavirus in Ireland.
The Irish Independent reports that a group of 65 young medical specialists living in Perth quit their positions to assist the Health Service Executive (HSE) fight against the rapidly growing number of cases in the Republic of Ireland.
However, with multiple flight cancellations and one of Australia's biggest airlines, Emirates, suspending all flights until June, the doctors have been forced to plead with the Irish government for help in returning home.
Dublin-born doctor Zoe Lynch spoke to The Irish Independent and said the group had been in contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs to explore the possibility of an emergency charter flight to bring them home, but were told that because some commercial flights are operating, a charter flight will not be possible.
Some flights are still available to book, Dr Lynch told the outlet, but are likely to be cancelled-- and business flights are "extremely expensive".
Dr Lynch told The Irish Independent that the Perth hospitals were understanding and supportive, and that the group of 65 Irish doctors had quit their jobs and "are all ready" to come home to fight against the virus.
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs told the outlet:
"We are in direct contact with a number of Irish citizens currently in Australia, through the Irish embassy in Canberra and the consulate general in Sydney.
"This is a rapidly evolving situation and consular officials are following up with Irish citizens providing all possible advice and support in relation to those seeking to repatriate to Ireland."